Anti-Asian hate crimes
Hate Crimes Increase For Third Consecutive Year, FBI Reports Getty Images | Jason Redmond / AFP

The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was passed by the US Senate by a vote of 94-1, with Senator Josh Hawley casting the sole dissenting vote on Thursday.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri was the only senator to vote against a bill aimed at reducing hate crimes against Asian-Americans on Thursday. The bill that aims to combat hate crime against Asians received a bipartisan 'yes' amid Hawley’s lone, widely criticized 'no'.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York), seeks to eliminate violence stemming from prejudice and discrimination against Asian populations during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is not limited to mitigating crimes against Asian-Americans alone. This bill comes after six Asian-American women were killed in a mass shooting in Atlanta last month.

Sen. Hirono’s compass of judgment was pointed towards former President Donald Trump for the uptick in anti-Asian prejudice, saying he used racial terms like "China virus" and "Kung flu" to identify the Covid-19 virus during his stint at the White House, New York Post reported. Hirono said the bill would send a powerful message of solidarity to the AAPI community that the Senate refuses to be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in the country.

The bill's proponents believe that it would expedite the Justice Department's investigation of Covid-19-related hate crimes and will help to address attacks specifically against Asian-Americans. Hawley told that the bill was 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 added.

The senator drew some eye-rolls and is being lambasted for being the only dissenter on the way of the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill. And, Twitterati was not kind to the lone naysayer.

ABC News outlined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's floor remarks shortly before the vote Thursday, that said as a collective, they can't let the rising tide of racism, intolerance, and hatred against Asian Americans continue unabated.

The bill also includes provisions to improve local and state hate crime reporting, as well as recommendations from the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to educate Americans about the increase in hate crimes that have occurred amid the pandemic. The bill, now an act, aims to strengthen national hate crime data collection.

President Joe Biden has already expressed his support for the bill and urged Congress to move quickly.

This isn’t the first time a senator has been the black sheep in bipartisan votes backing significant bills. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, described as lawmakers-turned-professional trolls by Vanity Fair, sparked controversy earlier this month when they were the only two senators to vote against reauthorizing the National Marrow Donor Program, which aims to match bone marrow donors and cord blood units with people with leukemia and other diseases.

Anti-Asian hate crime
A University of Washington student, who wished to remain anonymous, holds a sign that reads "hate has no place" during the We Are Not Silent rally organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Coalition Against Hate and Bias in Bellevue, Washington on March 18, 2021. Getty Images | JASON REDMOND/AFP

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