The Washington Post reported Tuesday that U.S. Senate leaders are poised to move ahead Wednesday “on the rarest types of legislation in this bitterly divided atmosphere” — a bipartisan effort to investigate hate crimes focused on Asian Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the main sponsor of the legislation, told reporters Tuesday that she is willing to broaden her bill to “more thoroughly capture all instances of anti-Asian crimes,” the Post reported.

Hirono, the only immigrant in the Senate, introduced the bill last month after the mass shooting in Atalanta that left eight people dead including six women of Asian descent. Asian Americans have experienced an increase in harassment in the wake of the COVID-19 virus that emerged from China.

Republicans and Democrats cautioned that the agreement on the bill could still fall apart, the Post said, “but senators signaled they are willing to merge a few different proposals that could lead a bipartisan passage of a bill by the end of the week, which is highly unusual in a chamber that has been dominated for the past three months by a presidential impeachment trial and the Democrats’ party-line passage of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.”

Meanwhile, The Hill reported Tuesday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would mark up the bill, introduced in that chamber by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), in committee within a week and the House would “pass it immediately.”

According to a March 11 press release from Hirono’s office, the bill would assign a point person at the Department of Justice “to expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes, providing support for state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to these hate crimes, and coordinating with local and federal partners to mitigate racially discriminatory language used to describe the pandemic.”

Quality journalism takes time.

A story that takes fives minutes to read often takes days to report.
 
Quality journalism takes time and resources to produce, but with support from readers like you, Civil Beat can investigate issues and publish stories that are otherwise difficult to fund.
 
Become a donor and help support Civil Beat’s next investigation.

About the Author