Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks In Advance Of Today’s Vote On Passage Of The Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill

April 22, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the vote today on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill and the importance of making it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

After nearly two weeks of Democrats and Republicans working together, the Senate is going to take a final vote on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill later this morning. The vote today on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill is proof that when the Senate is given the opportunity to work, the Senate can work to solve important issues.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian-Americans across the country have been the victim of a surge of discrimination and racially motivated violence and bigotry. In New York, I’ve attended rally after rally and heard one story after another about Asian-Americans who are afraid to ride the subway, afraid to go to work, afraid to walk down the streets, having to adjust their daily lives for fear of being spat upon, glared at, or even worse. This is not an occasional occurrence. It’s occurring every day in just about every corner of America.

Now, racism has always existed in America, unfortunately and sadly. And the legacy of anti-Asian sentiment goes back centuries, to dark chapters in our history like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII. Now, we have made great strides since those days, but over the past several years, the forces of hate and bigotry seemed to have gained strength—too often encouraged by our former president. It’s time for all of us to stand up.

By passing this bill, the Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all.

And I believe that passing this bill will send two very important messages. One important message: to the Asian American community, by passing this bill, we say to the Asian American community that their government is paying attention to them, has heard their concerns, and will respond to protect them.

And second, by passing this bill we’ll send a message to the country that should be all too obvious by now: hate crimes will not be tolerated; and federal law enforcement will do everything in its power to detect, deter, and if necessary, prosecute crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

So this bill has a one-two punch, to assure the Asian American community that we're going after the bigotry against them, and to tell the American people, particularly those bigots, we're going after you. In a legal way, of course.

Now, yesterday we reached an agreement to consider three more Republican amendments to the bill before a final vote. The legislation, as is, already includes significant bipartisan input, including modifications from Senator Collins, and bipartisan legislation called the No Hate Act, developed by Senators Moran and Blumenthal, and modified by Senator Scott of Florida. Senator Warnock has also made sure the bill recognizes the recent tragedy in Atlanta, in which 6 women of Asian descent were killed.

Through it all, Senators Durbin, Duckworth and especially the bill’s sponsor, Senator Hirono, have demonstrated exceptional leadership. The same goes for Representative Meng in the House.

Over the past six years, we’ve had too few opportunities to work together on timely, bipartisan legislation. Let this be a reminder that when senators of good will work with each other, at the end of the day we can achieve a good result.

We can do it again in the next few weeks with a bipartisan water infrastructure bill, which will be on the floor next week, and soon thereafter, another bipartisan package of legislation concerning American competitiveness.

Let’s continue the bipartisan momentum as we move into next week. But today, I want to thank my colleagues who have worked together to bring this bill to the finish line. I look forward to seeing the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill passed by this chamber today, and move one step closer to reaching the President’s desk.

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