By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, April 22 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at curbing a recent increase in hate crimes targeting Asian-American communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate voted 94-1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which, if enacted, would allow expedited federal government investigation on COVID-19 related hate crimes that are increasingly targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Vice President Kamala Harris has partly attributed the recent increase in anti-Asian hate incidents to the former administration, noting former President Donald Trump and "people in position of incredible power" had scapegoated Asian Americans for the pandemic.
She made the remark during her visit to Atlanta, where eight people, four of Korean descent and two others of Asian descent, were killed in tragic shootings at three day spas last month.
Trump had often referred to the new coronavirus as the "China virus" or "kung flu."
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill next month.
President Joe Biden has said he is eager to sign the bill into law.
The only vote in opposition came from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.
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