The bill intended to curtail a striking rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is seen before the signing ceremony, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19. 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
UPDATED 12:25 PM PT – Wednesday, May 19, 2021
A bill aimed at combating anti-Asian hate crimes has officially been passed by the House. This legislation advanced in the lower chamber after a 364 to 62 vote on Tuesday. Advocates have said this is a major step forward in combating the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) stated, “Asian Americans are tired of living in fear and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside. People often asked what Congress is doing about this, and we are here today to say that Congress is taking action.”
However, not all lawmakers were on board. Top conservatives such as Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) argue the bill causes confusion, pointing out how the legislation creates a new state office to oversee instances of those hate crimes instead of reporting them to police.
He further criticized a clause in the bill which would create a hot line where victims could report anything they find offensive, saying it opens the door to infringements on free speech. He also added Democrats refused to work with the GOP every step of the way.
In the meantime, the bill is now headed to the desk of Joe Biden where he’s expected to sign it into law as early as Thursday.