The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act — a piece of legislation that finally designates lynching a federal hate crime.
However, while 410 members of Congress voted for the bill — including every House Democrat in attendance — three Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent voted against the legislation.
Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Ted Yoho of Florida all voted against the bill — a piece of legislation that Congress has tried and failed to enact nearly 200 times over the last century, according to the Washington Post.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Republican who left the party and became an independent in 2019 over his opposition to Trump, also voted against it.
Another five Republicans had voted against the bill, but changed their votes to yeas before the vote ended, according to CNN’s Haley Byrd.
Among the GOP lawmakers who changed their vote at the last minute was Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican who has had his committee assignments stripped last year over comments supporting white supremacism.
Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chip Roy of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Ralph Norman of South Carolina also first voted against the bill before changing their vote to yea.
Yoho told CNN’s Manu Raju that he voted against the bill because he believes it’s an “overreach of the federal government.” The three others who voted against the bill have yet to comment.
Democrats, however, hailed the passage of the bill, which is named for Till — a 14-year-old black teenager who was brutally beaten and then lynched in Mississippi back in 1955. Two men were charged with Till’s murder but were found not guilty by a jury of all white men.
Rep. Bobby Rush, the Illinois Democrat who introduced the bill, said in a statement that the bill’s passage marks a “historic day for this U.S. House of Representatives, this Congress, and the American people.”
“With the passage of this bill we correct a historical injustice, based on a lie, that took the life of this young man,” Rush said in the statement. “We also bring justice to the over 4000 victims of lynching, most of them African-Americans, who have had their lives tragically, and horrifically cut short at the hands of racist mobs and hate-filled hordes.”
“After 120 years, and 200 failed attempts, the House finally positions itself on the right side of history, outlawing the heinous act of lynching once and for all,” Rush added.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is not expected to face opposition.
The Senate passed the exact same bill by a voice vote last year, and Rush told the congressional newspaper Roll Call that he has been “assured” the Senate would pass the bill again by the end of the week.
If the Senate passes the bill as Rush said, it ill head to Donald Trump’s desk for signature next.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.