Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Vote To Advance The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act

April 14, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor following the 92-6 vote to move forward with the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

We're very pleased that the Senate just took an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 92-6, to move forward with legislation to fight the surge of anti-Asian violence across our country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-Asian bigotry and violence is a very serious issue that has deep roots in our country's history. Regrettably, it has grown far worse over the last year. It's something that affects constituents of all our states and has proud Asian American citizens fearing for their safety.

I've been told stories that make me ache: an older Asian gentleman afraid to go outside because he'd be cursed at, berated, even spat upon. A young lady told me she would no longer take the subway to work because the stares at her were so angry and intense that it was just unnerving. And then, it's worse, with the assaults and violence and even a death.

So, we need to do something. I'm so glad that our Republican colleagues have voted with us to proceed with this legislation.

This was never intended as gotcha legislation. It was always intended as bipartisan legislation. And for the information of the Senate, we're making good progress on reaching a bipartisan agreement—sensible, germane, and constructive amendments coming from Republican colleagues—the Senator from Kansas, the Senator from Maine—that I believe make the bill even stronger.

So we want to continue in this bipartisan process. I intend the first amendment to the bill to be an amendment offered by Senators Moran and Blumenthal. We're working with the Republican Leader to determine if and how many other amendments to the bill there will be, so that we can consider them and vote on final passage without any gotcha or not-germane amendments, but moving this bill forward, because it does need to go forward with a sense of urgency.

The legislation will send a loud and clear message that racism and violence against Asian Americans have no place —no place—in American society. We should endeavor to finish our work as quickly as possible and without delay.