“We want the bill to get stronger,” Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We think lynching is a terrible thing that should be roundly condemned and condemned worldwide.”
He addressed the problems he sees in the bill, which passed the House in February with a 410-4 vote and is expected by Senate supporters to pass by unanimous consent until he opposes it.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to confuse someone with diversity, where they have minor bruises, with lynching. We think it’s a diservice to those who have been lynched in our history, continuing, we have continued to have These problems. And I think it’s a diservice to have a new 10-year sentence for people with minor bruising. We tried to exclude that part from the bill, and we are working with the authors to try to make the bill better, ”Paul said.
“If you call something an anti-lynching bill, but you̵7;ll have a new conspiracy charge for someone with minor bruising, we don’t think it’s appropriate. And have someone read the bills. this and be sure to do what they say they will do since it’s just a big PR effort, and then everyone gets up in arms and wants to beat anyone who wants to read the bill, and really make it stronger bill, “he said. .
“The bill as it is written will allow for damages resulting in a deduction, suspension, acquittal, or any other damage regardless of whether it is subject to a 10-year sentence. My amendment will specifically apply for a serious injury standard, which will ensure crimes that result in a high risk of death and severe physical harm will be promoted as a confounding one, ”Paul explained in a statement from his office on Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer criticized Paul on the move Wednesday, tweeting, “It’s a shame that a GOP Senator is standing in the way of getting legislation passed.”
The language of the House bill, named for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955, is very similar to another anti-lynching measure that passed the Senate last year through dissent. -so. It was written by the only three African Americans currently serving in the Senate, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, could take concrete steps to overcome Paul’s opposition and force a vote on the bill. But it can take days of floor time. A McConnell aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The House could also pass a bill passed by the Senate, the Justice for Victims of the Lynching Act, and send it to President Donald Trump’s desk, but Democratic leaders there have expressed a desire for the Senate to pass their bill to keep Till’s name in the title.
The text of the House law describes the violent and racist legacy of lynching in the United States and its earlier, and unsuccessful, attempts to enact federal anti-lynching law legislation.
“The crime of lynching succeeded in slavery as the ultimate expression of racism in the United States following the Reconstruction,” the bill added, adding that “at least 4,742 people, mainly African Americans, was reportedly lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968. “
The bill notes that “nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced to Congress in the first half of the 20th century,” and “between 1890 and 1952, 7 presidents petitioned Congress to end the focus . “
The law states: “Only by coming to terms with history has the United States effectively championed human rights abroad.”
This story has been updated with an additional statement from Paul’s office.
Ali Zaslav contributed to this story.