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Lawmakers speak after House passes COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Wednesday.
U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Wednesday.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Wednesday.

The legislation would combat anti-Asian violence.

It calls for creating a new justice department position that would speed up the review of possible COVID-19 based hate crimes and incidents.

The House passed the bill Tuesday with a vote of 364 to 62. It now heads to the President’s desk where he’s expected to sign it into law on Thursday.

All 62 “NO” votes came from Republicans, which include lawmakers from Georgia and South Carolina

“Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scape-goated for the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Rep. Grace Meng, (D)-New York.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill, introduced by New York Congresswoman Grace Meng, is in response to a rise in nationwide attacks against Asian-Americans.

Something South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace, Jim Clyburn and Georgia representative Buddy Carter acknowledge is a real problem in the country.

“It’s just gotten worse and we are seeing it. It’s horrifying,” said Rep. Nancy Mace, (R)-South Carolina.

The congresswoman was one of four South Carolina Republican Representatives to vote NO on the bill Tuesday.

“There was an amendment put forward on this bill that would prohibit discrimination against Asian Americans in higher education, and democrats, every single one of them voted against that measure. If we’re going to do this it needs to be across the board and be entirely inclusive.”

If signed by President Joe Biden, the bill will expedite a review of hate crimes at the Justice Department.

It will also make grants available to help local law enforcement agencies improve investigations.

Representative Clyburn voted in favor of it.

Carter’s office says he wasn’t able to be in attendance to vote on the bill, but released a statement to WTOC saying he would have voted yes.

He says, ”Hate crimes have absolutely no place in our society. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in Congress to do everything we can to stop them.”

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