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Kamala Harris slams Rand Paul over blockage of anti-lynching bill

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https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Kamala-Harris-Rand-Paul-anti-lynching-bill-Booker-15319839.php

 

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor Thursday after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up an anti-lynching bill that has broad bipartisan support.

The bill, written by Sen. Harris, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would make lynching a federal crime, and passed the Senate last year. However, the House renamed the bill the "Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act," and passed the legislation 410-4 in February. This change sent the bill back to the Senate, where Paul is hoping to add an amendment that he says would ensure charges are not brought for minor injuries.

"This bill would cheapen the meaning of lynching by defining it so broadly as to include a minor bruise or abrasion," he said. "Our nation’s history of racial terrorism demands more seriousness from us than that."

The Senate could hold a roll call vote on the legislation and pass it immediately, but Paul alone can stop that from happening. Because GOP leadership does not plan to devote floor time to the bill, Paul could delay the bill from reaching President Donald Trump's desk for an inordinate amount of time. If Paul's amendment were passed, the bill would be sent back to the House.

 

Harris was not thrilled.

"The idea that we would not be taking the issue of lynching seriously is an insult, an insult to Senator Booker, to Senator Tim Scott and myself," she said. "To suggest that anything short of pulverizing someone so much that the casket would otherwise be closed except for the heroism and courage of Emmett Till’s mother; to suggest that lynching would only be a lynching if someone’s heart was pulled out, reduced and displayed to someone else is ridiculous."

Rand Paul tried to lecture Black lawmakers on the definition of lynching. Kamala Harris delivered her response. I was going to take a snippet from the 7 minutes to highlight but I couldn’t. The entire speech is powerful and one that’ll go down in history. pic.twitter.com/qxmCi85jL6

— José (@josecanyousee) June 4, 2020

The California senator went on to call Paul's actions "cruel" and "deliberate" set against the backdrop of George Floyd's memorial.

 

"There is no reason for this," she said. "Sen. Paul’s amendment would place a greater burden on victims of lynching than is currently required under federal hate crimes laws. There is no reason for this. There is no reason other than cruel and deliberate obstruction on a day of mourning."

Sen. Booker was equally offended.

"I do not need my colleague, the senator from Kentucky, to tell me about one lynching in this country," he said. "I’ve stood in the museum in Montgomery, Ala., and watched African American families weeping at the stories of pregnant women lynched in this country and their babies ripped out of them while this body did nothing."

Sen. @CoryBooker: "I do not need my colleague, the Senator from Kentucky, to tell me about one lynching in this country. I've stood in the museum in Montgomery, AL, and watched African American families weeping at the stories of pregnant women lynched in this country." pic.twitter.com/HWXHl6iJ6e

— The Hill (@thehill) June 4, 2020

Paul understands the backlash, but held firm.

"You think I’m getting any good publicity out of this?" he asked. "No. I will be excoriated by simple-minded people on the Internet who think somehow I don’t like Emmett Till or appreciate the history of Emmett Till. I’ll be lectured by everybody."

 

 

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