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Photo: Zach Gibson via Getty Images

Democratic lawmakers called on their Republican colleagues Tuesday to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which aims to improve hate crime reporting and educate law enforcement on identifying anti-Asian racism.

Why it matters: Democrats will require 60 votes to push the legislation through the Senate, effectively daring Republicans to filibuster a bill for the first time since the new Congress.

The state of play: If Republicans allow the Senate to proceed to the legislation on Wednesday, lawmakers plan to strengthen the anti-Asian hate crimes bill by adding the bipartisan Blumenthal-Moran "No Hate Act" as an amendment, according to a Senate Democratic aide.

  • The No Hate Act would streamline reporting systems and bolster resources for investigating hate crimes and assisting victims.

Worth noting: 164 House Republicans voted against Rep. Grace Meng's (D-N.Y.) resolution to condemn anti-Asian racism last September.

The big picture: The yearlong spike in anti-Asian hate has led to a slew of violent attacks. But underreporting remains an issue, experts say.

  • The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act also seeks to rehabilitate people convicted of hate crimes and establish a point person in the Justice Department to review COVID-related hate crimes.
  • President Biden has said he supports the legislation.

What they're saying: "We have a moral imperative to take action," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a press conference Tuesday. Combating racism "can and should be bipartisan," he said, adding that he plans to ensure the Senate votes on the legislation this week.

  • "People need to feel empowered to come forward and report these incidents," said Meng, who introduced the House version. "Combating hate should not be a partisan issue. ... It's about people's lives and their right to be safe."

Go deeper

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.