Senate

Kamala Harris: ‘Insulting’ Rand Paul held up anti-lynching bill on day of George Floyd funeral

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Monday it is insulting that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up an anti-lynching bill last week on the same day of George Floyd’s funeral. 

“It’s insulting,” Harris said Monday on “The View” when asked about Paul holding up the bill last week. 

“It has been over 100 years that people have been trying to pass in the United States Senate, in the United States Congress, an anti-lynching bill I felt very strongly about,” Harris added.

“What Rand Paul is doing, which is one man holding up what would be a historic bill recognizing one of the great sins of America — and it was on the day of George Floyd’s funeral which just added insult to injury and frankly made it so painful that on that day that’s what was happening,” she said.

Paul last week held up the passage of anti-lynching legislation, arguing that it first needed to be amended.   

Paul argued that the way the bill is written, it would designate “any bodily injury including a cut, an abrasion, or a bruise, physical pain, illness or any other injury to the body” as lynching.

“The bill as written would allow altercations resulting in a cut, abrasion, bruise, or any other injury no matter how temporary to be subject to a 10-year penalty. My amendment would simply apply a serious bodily injury standard, which would ensure crimes resulting in substantial risk of death and extreme physical pain be prosecuted as a lynching,” Paul said in a statement.

Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), two of the Senate’s three black senators, blocked Paul’s effort. They stressed that if Paul had dropped his objection, lawmakers could have passed the legislation through the Senate on Thursday, the day of Floyd’s memorial service.

Harris called Paul’s argument “ridiculous.” 

“To suggest that anything short of pulverizing someone so much that the casket would otherwise be closed except for the heroism and courage of Emmett Till’s mother, to suggest that lynching would only be a lynching if someone’s heart was pulled out and produced and displayed to someone else, is ridiculous,” Harris said last week.

Harris said on “The View” that the anti-lynching measure is part of the comprehensive legislative package around policing Democrats introduced Monday

“So I do believe that we have an opportunity to pass it,” she said. 

The House passed its own bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime earlier this year. 

The Senate last year passed legislation authored by Booker, Harris and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), to make lynching a federal hate crime. It was the second time the legislation cleared the Senate after the then-GOP-controlled House failed to pass the bill during the 115th Congress.

–This report was updated at 2:29 p.m.

Tags anti-lynching legislation Cory Booker Lynching Rand Paul Tim Scott
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