House Minority Whip Steve Scalise made sure members of the GOP caucus voted against a resolution to condemn mass shootings in Georgia that killed eight people.
The vast majority of House Republicans on Wednesday voted against a resolution to condemn mass shootings at a trio of Asian-owned spas in the Atlanta area, which are being treated by prosecutors in the state as hate crimes.
The resolution passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 244 to 180, with every Democrat and 30 Republicans voting for it.
Every single one of the 180 no votes were from GOP lawmakers, who opted to vote against the resolution to condemn the shootings that killed eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent.
According to the text of the resolution, the House said it:
(1) condemns the heinous and inexcusable acts of gun violence that led to the tragic loss of 8 lives in Georgia on March 16, 2021;
(2) condemns any racism and sexism in the choice of the shooter to target Asian-owned businesses and murder 7 women, 6 of whom were of Asian descent;
(3) honors the memory of the victims, offers heartfelt condolences to their families, and recognizes that the healing process will be long and difficult for the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community and all communities impacted by this tragedy; and
(4) reaffirms the commitment of the United States Federal Government to combat hate, bigotry, and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.
Republicans did not indicate why they voted against the resolution.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, whose job it is to mobilize Republican representatives to vote in accordance with the party's wishes, had urged his caucus to oppose the legislation.
"Wow. We are voting right now to condemn the racist mass shootings in Georgia and republican leadership is whipping gop members to vote no," Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted.
The vote came one day after 62 House Republicans voted against a coronavirus-related anti-Asian hate crimes bill that is now headed to President Joe Biden's desk for approval.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act requires the Department of Justice to designate an official to expeditiously handle hate crimes cases, requires the department to issue guidance to local law enforcement agencies on how to deal with hate crimes, and authorizes grants for states to create hate crime reporting hotlines.
On Tuesday, after the hate crimes bill passed, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), the first Asian-American to be elected to Congress from New York and a co-sponsor of the legislation, said: "Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19. And as a result, Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on, and even set on fire and killed. The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this rise in bigotry and racist attacks. Asian Americans are tired of living in fear."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.