WASHINGTON – The House passed a bill Tuesday that would require members of Congress to pay out of their own pockets for any sexual harassment settlements, and would help victims better navigate the complaint process on Capitol Hill.
“There is no place for sexual harassment or any type of harassment, period," Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman of the House Administration Committee, said before the House vote on the measure.
The House approved the measure by voice vote. It now moves to the Senate.
The bipartisan effort led by Harper, Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., comes in the wake of sexual harassment allegations spreading across the country — including members of Congress being named in sexual misconduct cases. Several members have recently resigned or announced plans to retire after charges of sexual harassment.
The bill would require members to personally pay any settlements rather than using their office budgets. Congress has come under fire because some settlements against members have been paid with funds from the U.S. Treasury.
“Offenders, themselves, will have to pay," Comstock said.
The House also approved a resolution that would amend the House Code of Conduct to specifically ban sexual relations between a member of Congress and a staffer he or she supervises.
It also would require each office to adopt an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy and set up the Office of Employee Advocacy to help employees who complain about sexual harassment navigate the process.
“This bill empowers survivors," said Speier, who called the effort to address the issue a "rare and crucial moment of bipartisanship."
Speier said members of Congress will now be held responsible for their "bad behavior."
But she said the work is not finished, and that more needs to be done in other workplaces.
Comstock praised the measure but said it should go further and expose members who have paid sexual harassment settlements in the past. Comstock has complained that not all those members have been named.
The House passed a resolution last year that requires members of Congress and their staff to undergo mandatory anti-sexual harassment training. The Senate approved a similar measure.
The new measure would update the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act that applied workplace rules to Congress for the first time.
Full article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/06/house-passes-bill-force-lawmakers-pay-their-own-sexual-harassment-settlements/311023002/
Food for thought:
I wish this bill extended to military!! This will be a game changer, if the perpetrators were not only prosecuted but forced, by law, to pay damages to their victims!
When I sued the former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, for Sexual Harassment, Racial-Sexual Discrimination, and Retaliation, taxpayers paid for his legal defense. As well as the legal defense of former Defense Secretary(s), Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, when they were sued by Veterans who'd alleged they’d been raped while on active duty. And thousands more Veterans have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape…
Imagine a military that upheld full equality, as governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and personnel are provided a workplace free of discrimination, and fear of being harassed, assaulted or raped by their colleagues, or supervisors?! But, unfortunately, the Pentagon is given a directive to “govern themselves,” and you wonder why “victims” complaints are ignored!!
Yet, as the momentum continues with the “Gender War,” I’m sure there will be more “casualties” aka “collateral damage” on the battlefield (frontline in combat), as a certain group of women seek to make their mark in history!! Some things never change!!!