House

House to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month

The House is set to vote this month on bills to ensure workplace protections for pregnant employees, reform debt collection practices and combat a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Thursday. 

Hoyer said in a notice to lawmakers that the House will vote the week of May 17 on the Senate-passed bill to address anti-Asian hate crimes. That legislation, which senators passed 94-1 last month, would create a new position at the Justice Department to review pandemic-related hate crimes and establish ways to report incidents online.

The House will also consider a resolution from Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), the leader of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, to formally condemn the shootings at Atlanta-area spas on March 16 that resulted in the deaths of six Asian women.

More than four months after the Jan 6. insurrection, lawmakers may take the first legislative steps toward trying to prevent a repeat episode of violence at the Capitol.

Hoyer said it's possible, "if it is ready," that the House will consider a supplemental spending bill to address Capitol security needs and establish an investigatory commission in response to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection is still mired in partisan disagreements. Republicans are pushing for a broader scope to include other episodes of political violence resulting from left-wing extremism, while Democrats - and some Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) - maintain it should be focused solely on the Jan. 6 attack by a mob of extremists in support of former President Trump. 

When the House returns from recess next week, lawmakers will vote on legislation to ensure that workplaces provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are pregnant or have given birth. The measure, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), currently has 20 Republican co-sponsors.

The House previously passed the bill in September 2020 by a vote of 329-73, but it never received action in the Senate.

The House will also take up bills next week to bolster mental health services, particularly for underserved and high-poverty communities, as well as a package to reform the debt collection industry. 

"Its measures would also strengthen protections for small business lending, safeguard military servicemembers from unfair debt collection, assist borrowers with student and medical debt, and prevent harassment and abuse," Hoyer wrote.

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