Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill

Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are signaling that they will allow for a debate of an anti-Asian hate crimes bill, defusing a potential filibuster standoff that was expected to come to a head on Wednesday.

Democrats will force a vote on Wednesday on proceeding to the bill from Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Biden's misinformation crackdown spotlights partisan divide on content reform Number of nonwhite Democratic Senate staffers ticks up from 2020 MORE (D-Hawaii), a move that will require 60 votes including the support of at least 10 GOP senators.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Data reveal big opportunity to finish the vaccine job MORE (R-Texas), an advisor to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal MORE (Ky.), stopped short of saying there was "unanimous" support among Republicans to allow the bill to come up but "there was a lot of interest in getting on the bill."

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think the discussion generally was in favor of getting on it and seeing if we ... get some amendments," Cornyn said after a closed-door GOP caucus meeting.

Hirono's bill would require the Justice Department (DOJ) to appoint an official to oversee the expedited review of coronavirus-related hate crimes, bolster state and local resources and have the administration issue guidance on "best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language" describing the coronavirus pandemic."

But the bill has no GOP cosponsors, raising the prospect that it could be filibustered. However, those tensions appeared to be waning Tuesday.

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchumer urges GOP to ignore Trump: He's 'rooting for failure' Trump pressures McConnell, GOP to ditch bipartisan talks until they have majority Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-Alaska) both said that they would vote to proceed to Hirono’s bill.

“I think it’s an important issue and one that’s worthy of our consideration,” Murkowski said.

ADVERTISEMENT

A senior Senate Democratic aide also disclosed earlier Tuesday that there was an effort underway to pick up GOP support, including folding in separate hate crimes legislation from Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranGraham: Bipartisan infrastructure pay-fors are insufficient This week: Democrats move forward with Jan. 6 probe Bipartisan senators ask CDC, TSA when they will update mask guidance for travelers MORE (R-Kansas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in exchange for Republicans agreeing to start debate on the Hirono bill.

Moran said there was "broad support" among Republicans for his amendment and discussions underway about trying to wrap up the entire hate crimes bill on Thursday.

Senate leaders are currently discussing a potential deal on amendments with Democrats, hoping that they could pass the bill as soon as this week.

"I'm hoping we can work out an agreement to get on the bill in a normal way, have some amendments, and move to final passage," McConnell told reporters.