The Senate is expected to take up a bill today targeting hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Democrats are urging Republicans to support it.
The bill would direct the Justice Department to expedite review of hate crimes related to COVID-19, create online options to report incidents and increase public outreach.
Ahead of today's initial votes, several Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders in Congress told personal stories about racism they and their constituents have faced.
“I will do everything I can to make sure that we seize this moment and get this passed," said Rep. Andy Kim. "So when that Asian American community down there in Atlanta asks me ‘what are you going to do about it?’ next time I go back down there to Atlanta, I want to be a look them in the eye and tell them we did everything that we could at this moment, to try to fight for justice and equality, and allow you to feel safe here in your own country.”
Crimes against Asian Americans have risen during the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there is no reason this shouldn't be bipartisan.
Democrats need 60 votes to proceed.
Republicans have pushed back on parts of the legislation for various reasons, but have signaled they will not block it with a filibuster.