Congress approved legislation Tuesday intended to curtail a striking rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, sending President Biden a bipartisan denunciation of the spate of brutal attacks that have proliferated during the pandemic. The bill, which the House passed on a 364-62 vote, will expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and make grants available to help local law enforcement agencies improve their investigation, identification, and reporting of incidents driven by bias, which often go underreported, the AP reports. It previously passed the Senate 94-1 in April after lawmakers reached a compromise. Biden has said he will sign it.
"Asian Americans have been screaming out for help, and the House and Senate and President Biden have clearly heard our pleas," said Democratic Rep. Grace Meng, who helped lead efforts to pass the bill in the House. The bill also represented a rare moment of bipartisanship in a Congress that has struggled to overcome partisan gridlock, while underscoring an evolution in Republican thought on hate crimes legislation. "I'm glad Congress is coming together in a bipartisan way,” said Rep. Young Kim, a California Republican who is Korean American. "Let's also recognize that we cannot legislate hate out of our people's hearts and minds."
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