The Senate on Thursday passed a bill, denouncing discrimination against Asian Americans living in the United States. with a huge bipartisan majority.

With 94 votes in favour and one vote against, the bill, named the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, signed into law will create a new position at the US Justice Department to accelerate the reviewing of all potential COVID-19 related hate crimes, reported CNN. 

The only Senator to oppose the bill was Republican Josh Hawley from Missouri. 

Also Read: Bill on hate crimes against Asian Americans gains momentum in the US Senate

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives before reaching President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. 

It also directs the Justice and Health departments to work with agencies to establish a system where hate crimes can be reported online and to issue guidance to raise awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Democratic Representative Grace Meng of New York. It gained rightful attention post-March 16 after six Asian American women were shot in Atlanta. 

While some Republicans were unsure about the bill, Hirono teamed with GOP Senator Susan Collins along with others who lobbied with sceptical members and gained their support. 

Also Read: Asian-American Olympic athletes share personal stories of racism and abuse

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Racism and violence against Asian Americans has no place in our society,” after the bill was passed. 

On Thursday, Senator Mazie Hirono said the passing of the bill “sends a clear and unmistakable message of solidarity” to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Collins said it “affirms our commitment to stand with” them against hate crimes, reported CNN.

Democrat Hirono and other leaders have pressurised President Biden to include more Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans in top official positions.

He later named Erika Moritsugu as a liaison to the AAPI community. Moritsugu was a counsel to Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth in the capacity of a liaison to the AAPI community and a former official at the National Partnership for Women & Families. 

Meanwhile, Biden nominated Katherine Tai, daughter of immigrants from Taiwan as a trade representative. Tai has been confirmed to be the first woman of colour to be the top US trade negotiator. He also nominated Neera Tanden for Office of Management and Budget director, which failed, due to Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition to Tanden’s long history of Republican criticism.