Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) Said Republicans are considering voting for open debate and tabling amendments to action against hate crimes. Some in the GOP may want “the opportunity to have a discussion about how to do it better, how to improve it,” Thune said of the bill.
However, other GOP senators oppose the legislation advocated by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to improve federal coordination against hate crimes as unnecessary and as a potential overreach of the government.
“To the best of my knowledge, it doesn’t matter much,” said Sen John Cornyn (R-Texas), who said he has yet to review the legislation. “It’s just a messaging vote, that sounds like it to me.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key moderator, added that the bill “has design issues that I hope can be addressed. For example, it seems to say that the hate crime has to be linked to Covid, which is pretty strange. ”
The majority whip of the Senate Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Described the decision before the GOP as a test for the filibuster as the party weighs up whether to deal with the issue. After all, Durbin remarked, “Who can’t say hate crimes are against Asian Americans and others [are] reprehensible?”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chose the relatively narrow hate crimes law for his first use of the legislative minimum after successfully implementing Biden’s Covid recovery plan into law. This selection in itself, as opposed to an alternative bipartisan proposal to combat increasing bias crimes, suggests that Democrats might see an advantage in waging a filibuster fight on a politically popular topic like preventing discrimination.
Schumer called it “safe” and asked the Senate Republicans to “move the bill forward and pass it with a strong bipartisan vote”.
The bill “sends a very important signal from Congress to the American public: These crimes will not be tolerated and there will be consequences,” said Schumer.
Schumer needed at least 10 Republican votes to open the debate and again for final adoption.
“I would like to see a non-partisan result here. In some ways we think it goes too far,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Even some Democrats questioned the process that led to the vote this week. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Asked Monday why the bill isn’t going through a regular committee order as opposed to a “quick vote” on the floor.
“It’s not a bullshit issue, it’s a really serious issue,” Kaine said. “Why shouldn’t we have a committee hearing and have witnesses to discuss the trauma Asian Americans are experiencing because there is a real fear out there?” Why shouldn’t we do this? Do you have a serve on the committee? We control the committees. “
Hirono’s bill would appoint a Justice Department official to expedite the investigation of hate crimes related to Covid, improve guidelines for reporting state and local hate crimes, and ask federal agencies to provide a general framework for avoiding racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic . There is currently a lack of Republican co-sponsors.
Hirono said she wasn’t confident the bill would get enough GOP support to break a filibuster. “Anything that the Democrats say is important, the Republicans tend not to support. There you have it, ”she said.
In addition to Hirono’s bill, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Reintroduced a measure this week with Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) To create grants to help state and local governments report on To improve hate crime. An accompanying invoice in the house is also non-partisan.
Should Republicans decide to block the bill, it would be their first filibuster since 2014, when they were last in the minority.
“I’ll be honest: I’m not inclined to create any other category of crime,” Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) Said Monday night.