House lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in Congress

House lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in Congress

"They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable", she said. "As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules committees to implement mandatory training, we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment".

Jackie Speier testified before the House Administration Committee that she knows of two current members of Congress who are guilty of sexual harassment - one Democrat and one Republican. The review came in response to the increased attention that has been placed on sexual abuse in workplaces big and small across the country. As Republicans distance themselves from Moore, lawmakers in the House and Senate are working to address sexual misconduct in the Congressional workplace.

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., a member of the committee who has served as a Hill staffer, said she was recently alerted to a situation involving another current member of Congress who exposed himself to a female staffer delivering materials to his home.

"This type of behavior can not be tolerated", said Republican Chairman Gregg Harper of MS at the close of the hearing.

There is now no requirement for sexual harassment training in the House of Representatives, but individual offices may voluntarily have their staffs attend trainings offered by the Office of Compliance.

The woman quit her job shortly after and the lawmaker remains in office, according to Comstock, who didn't provide a name.


Later this week, Speier will also introduce legislation to overhaul the process that victims of harassment undergo when they file complaints to the Office of Compliance, which she has called "toothless" and says is created to protect harassers and not the harassed.

Shortly after the hearing, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House will do the same - requiring anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for members of Congress and staff.

She is also crafting another bill to overhaul the process available for staff to file harassment complaints with Office of Compliance, which she says discourages victims from coming forward. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.

One possible solution to the issue has already been suggested - mandatory sexual harassment training for all lawmakers and their staff.

She also noted that cases between staff members and lawmakers are "very rare" and that mediation cases are overwhelmingly between two staff members.

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