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Rep. Bobby Rush. Photo: Axios

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) criticized Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) attempts to block an anti-lynching bill that has bipartisan support, saying Friday the Kentucky senator wants to "gut the bill."

What he's saying: "I think he's acting as a scoundrel here. I think he’ll be treated and defined as a scoundrel that's standing in the pathway, standing in the doorway of passing a federal anti-lynching bill, after over 100 years of attempting to pass an anti-lynching bill," he said during a virtual Axios event on Friday.

The big picture: Rush introduced legislation that has bipartisan support called the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act that would make lynching a federal crime.

  • The Senate passed a version that is very similar to the House's, but Rush wants to keep Till's name in the bill. This week Paul put a block on the bill so it would not be considered.
  • Sens. Kamala Harris, Bobby Scott and Cory Booker have spoken to Paul to gain his support.
  • Paul introduced changes he said "would prevent those involved in minor altercations from being charged with lynching and receiving a 10-year sentence," per USA Today.

Background: There have been about 200 efforts in the past to pass a law to make lynching illegal.

  • The bill is named in memory of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teenager who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

For the record:

  • "I think he's trying to gut the bill," Rush said. "I really believe he's trying to gut the bill, and the bill is a compromise. It's not my original wording."
  • "If it doesn’t pass now, then I don't believe that it will pass."
  • "I'm an optimist. I'm a praying man. I really believe that this bill has reached a moment, lending a confluence of history coming together in this time. That there's going to be a public outcry ... and there's no federal legislation in this time against lynching."

Of note: Rush is also planning to introduce an additional piece of legislation dealing with federal crimes and lynching as soon as next week that would define the death of George Floyd as a lynching.

Watch the virtual event

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

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