An anti-hate crime bill may bring together Senate Democrats and Republicans and stave off the first opportunity for the GOP to mount a formal filibuster since since President Joe Biden took office, Politico reported.
According to the news outlet, the possible detente comes with legislation from Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, that addresses the increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
A vote is expected Wednesday on whether to open debate on the bill, but some GOP senators have balked, arguing it’s unnecessary and a potential government overreach, Politico reported.
For now, there’s been no decision by the GOP to block the bill — a move that’d heat up an already simmering Democrat debate on whether to try to weaken or kill the legislative filibuster, the news outlet noted. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has even warned that Senate Republicans would do "everything we can" to force the Biden administration to the middle, and if Democrats eliminate the filibuster, "we will make it difficult still in a 50-50 Senate for them to pass hard-left legislation."
But Politico, citing an unnamed Democrat aide, reported both sides are now talking about an amendment that would attach separate bipartisan legislation on the issue if Republicans were to agree to start debate on the bill. Republicans are increasingly inclined to back the bill, an unnamed GOP source told the news outlet.
Republicans may seek "an opportunity to engage in a discussion about how to make it better, how to improve it," Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told Politico.
The potential amendment would improve hate crimes reporting at the state and local level and is spearheaded by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Politico reported. A version of the legislation also has bipartisan backing in the House.
At a congressional hearing last month, lawmakers, professors, and actor Daniel Dae Kim said the Asian-American community was reeling from a year of heightened anti-Asian attacks.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen by 149% in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
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