Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Moving Forward On The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

April 15, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding progress being made to advance the COVID-19 Hates Crimes Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Senators voted to move forward on Sen. Hirono’s and Sen. Duckworth’s Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill. I was pleased that the vote was so substantial: 92-6. Rarely do you see 92 Senators agree to move forward with any piece of legislation.

But if there was ever a topic that deserves a strong showing of bipartisan support, it’s standing up to bigotry and racism against a particular group of Americans.

Today, we will continue to work on a bipartisan agreement regarding amendments. I’ve committed to start the process with the bipartisan Moran-Blumenthal amendment. I understand my Republican colleague from Maine has some modifications to the bill, which we welcome, and those negotiations are proceeding afoot.

I expect the Republican Leader and I, in consultation with the relevant committees, will be able to figure out an appropriate number of reasonable, germane, non-gotcha amendments for the Senate to consider.

We are working with Senators Moran and Grassley and Collins in a very bipartisan way and we should be able to wrap up this bill next week.

By doing so, the Senate will deliver a powerful message to Asian-Americans that their voices are heard, their concerns are felt, and that their government will take swift, decisive action to protect them. They are not alone.

Before I move on, I just want to say to my Republican colleagues: this is how the Senate can work, even though it’s closely divided. When there is a pressing issue, like the rising tide of anti-Asian violence, the Senate can act quickly and in a bipartisan way to address it.

We don’t need to always distrust the other party. This bill was never intended to be a messaging bill, or “gotcha” legislation. This bill is like a drive straight down the middle of the fairway. Well-timed, modest, unobjectionable.

And at the end of the day, we can achieve a result that has both substantive and symbolic importance.

Substantive – because we’re going to adjust the focus of the Justice Department to better respond to anti-Asian hate crimes. And symbolic – because both parties are standing up to deliver a message that racism and bigotry have no place, no place, in America.

That’s an undeniably good result.