LCCR Chides GOP Leadership for Removal of Hate Crimes Legislation: Vows Battle is Not Over

Media 10.5,00

“The Republican congressional leadership just doesn’t get it. Hate crimes are a national tragedy, not a partisan issue. The GOP leadership’s decision to strip the hate crimes legislation from the DoD Authorization bill despite the overwhelming support of a broad, bi-partisan majority in both chambers of Congress, the President, and 175 law enforcement, religious, civic, and civil rights groups, while disappointing, is not wholly unexpected.

The people of this country want an expanded comprehensive hate crimes prevention law enacted now, and we will not stop fighting until we have it. How many hate crimes must be committed before Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) and Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) will acknowledge the need for this stronger legislation?

While Congress has squandered this historic opportunity to strengthen the federal hate crimes statute, we are confident hate crimes legislation still will be enacted this year. President Clinton has two bipartisan votes (57-42; 232-192) with large number of Senate (13) and House (41) Republicans who voted for the legislation to cite as he pushes for adoption of the legislation as part of the final budget negotiations between the House, Senate and the White House. We are confident that the President and Vice President will do everything they can to ensure that the federal hate crimes statute is strengthened this year.

To the extent that the members of the Congress fail to take action, they do so at their own peril. The civil rights community will be there every step of the way over the next few weeks to remind the public who supports strengthening the federal hate crimes statute and who does not.”