Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (at podium) holds up a sign that says 'Stop Asian Hate' at a press event in Koreatown, Manhattan, on Monday. (Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called for the swift passage of a bill aimed at curbing COVID-19-related hate crimes targeting Asian-American communities, insisting anyone opposing the bill would shame themselves.
His remarks came hours before the Senate was set to vote on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
"I dare any senator to vote against this legislation -- and if they do, shame on them," Schumer said at an event in Manhattan's Koreatown.
He was joined by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), local politicians and Asian-American community leaders.
The legislation, if enacted, would allow the federal government to crack down on hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
More than 3,800 bigoted incidents were reported in 2020 alone, which marked a sharp increase from a year earlier, according to Vice President Kamala Harris, who has attributed the increase partly to former President Donald Trump and his administration for instigating ill will against Asian communities.
The former president frequently referred to the new coronavirus as the "China virus" or "kung flu."
If the US Senate votes in favor of the measure, it will be put to a vote in the House of Representatives within two weeks.
The Senate earlier voted 92-6 to open debate on the bill. (Yonhap)