Hawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the lone senator to vote against legislation on Thursday aimed at combating a surge in anti-Asian American hate crimes.
Hawley, a potential 2024 presidential contender, called the bill “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,” he said in a statement.
The bill from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) requires the Justice Department to designate an official to review coronavirus-related hate crimes and beefs up state and local resources.
As part of a deal with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), she changed the language on what guidance should be offered by the administration from the “best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language” to guidance “aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Hirono also worked in legislation from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) that aims to strengthen the reporting of hate crimes and boost hate crimes data, offer support for hate crimes training for law enforcement and establish a hate crimes hotline.
Though Republicans filed dozens of separate amendments to the bill, only three got votes and each failed on Thursday to get added to the legislation.
Hawley last week voted against advancing the bill, along with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
After that vote, Hawley told reporters he was concerned the measure was “hugely open-ended” and that it “mandates all this data collection in expansive categories that the federal government will collect and maintain.”
“It just, you know, the ability and power to define crimes, to define incidents going forward, and collect all that data, it just seemed hugely, hugely over broad,” he said.
Cotton, Cruz, Marshall and Tuberville voted for the bill’s passage Thursday.
Paul missed the vote on final passage, along with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
Updated at 4:42 p.m.