KENNEDY AND LEVIN ON FAILURE OF HOUSE TO BRING HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION TO A VOTE
Today, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Carl Levin released the following statement in response to the United States House of Representatives failure to vote on the Conference Report of the Defense bill, due to the hate crimes provision being included. Senator Kennedy is the author of the hate crimes legislation that was passed in the Senate, and Senator Levin is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We are deeply disappointed that the House has decided not even to have a vote on the Conference Report on the Defense bill if it contains the hate crimes provision. With this decision, we've lost the best opportunity to enact hate crimes legislation in this Congress. This provision was adopted by the Senate with a vote of 60-39 during debate on the bill.
The inclusion of the hate crimes provision in the Defense bill was appropriate. Our military stands for America's ideals and fights for America's ideals. At a time when our ideals are under attack by terrorists in other lands, it is more important than ever to demonstrate that we practice what we preach, and that we are doing all we can to root out the bigotry and prejudice in our own country that leads to similar violence here at home. Now more than ever, we need to send a strong message here at home and around the world that we will strengthen our laws against hate crimes.
The hate crimes bill would have advanced those values and goals, and we're committed to getting it enacted. It's long past time for this measure to become law."