Should Congress condemn anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This resolution condemns all anti-Asian sentiment especially related to the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the increase in hate crimes toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, it calls on federal officials to document and report all reports of AAPI hate crimes, harassments, bullying, and threats. Those convicted of these crimes will be held accountable through investigation and prosecution. The Attorney General will also work with state and local offices and AAPI groups to prevent discrimination and educate the public on reporting hate crimes. The Department of Health and Human Services will publish appropriate language to lessen the use of racially discriminatory phrases when describing the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution recommits the United States as a world leader in diversity and calls for continued inclusivity and combating misinformation toward the AAPI community. Sponsor: Representative Grace Meng (Democrat, New York, District 6) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

• " turns the federal government into the speech police - gives [the] government sweeping authority to decide what counts as offensive speech and then monitor it. Raises big free speech questions. It’s too broad. As a former prosecutor, my view is it’s dangerous to simply give the federal government open-ended authority to define a whole new class of federal hate crime incidents." Source: Senator Josh Hawley (Republican, Missouri)

Proponents say

• "In light of the recent dramatic increase of anti-Asian hate incidents across our country, we all must coalesce and renew our efforts to condemn all manifestations of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and anti-Asian sentiment and scapegoating, which is why I have reintroduced my resolution in the new Congress. It is also critical for the new Congress, which includes many new U.S. Representatives, to take a strong stand against this prejudice and bigotry as well. Over the past year, there have been some 3,000 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes including a recent rise in assaults against elderly Asian Americans. Although President Trump has left office, his past rhetoric and use of disparaging terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung-flu’ continues to heighten people’s fears of COVID-19, and fuel everything from verbal assaults to physical attacks towards those of Asian descent. We must denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment of any form, and stand against the sickening intolerance and violence that is leaving a terrible stain on our nation’s history, especially during this moment of an unprecedented public health crisis. I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution." Source: Rep. Grace Meng (Democrat, New York, District 6)

• "Our country’s AAPI community has experienced escalating verbal attacks and physical violence since the coronavirus pandemic began, including the devastating killings… in Atlanta. We must reject all forms of xenophobia and address the harm to our AAPI communities. Passing this resolution would send a clear message, that hate, bigotry, and anti-Asian sentiment have no place in our country." Source: Senator Mazie Hirono (Democrat, Hawaii)