Democratic Congresswoman Alleges Two Sitting Lawmakers Have 'Engaged In Sexual Harassment'

Capitol

Capitol

The hearing by the panel, which oversees the chamber's operations, is part of a review of how the House handles sexual harassment claims.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said at the same hearing said there are two current members who have been involved in sexual harassment.

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.

Speier, who has proposed legislations requiring mandatory sexual harassment training as well as an easier process for reporting offenders, testified Tuesday that she's aware of two sitting members who "engaged in sexual harassment", though she did not name them. The Senate just last week passed a resolution making sexual harassment training mandatory, not just for staffers and interns, but also for Senate lawmakers.

Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockWilson endorses Foxx as next House Education chairman House transfers DC Metro board appointments to DOT Dems target DC-area GOP rep on Metro funding MORE (R-Va.), a member of the House Administration Committee, said she had heard of an unidentified male lawmaker who exposed himself to a young female staffer.

Comstock's remarks suggest that Speier's push for broad reform of Congress' harassment policy, spearheaded in the Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), might find bipartisan support.

Speier did not name either of the lawmakers.

The staffer subsequently quit, Comstock said.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell support ramping up sexual harassment training, as does House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

"I strongly encourage you to complete sexual harassment training and to mandate the training for your staff".

"We need to increase member accountability, " he said.

Lawmakers Tuesday focused also on the long term effects of sexual harassment and misconduct on the Capitol.

In an environment with "so many young women", said one ex-House aide, the men "have no self-control".

"Obviously, that's not the right approach", he said.

The House Administration Committee, which issues policies for congressional offices, is considering new policies on sexual harassment, including new training requirements.

She told CNN's "New Day" earlier Tuesday that current policy dictates that individuals coming forward with harassment complaints have to go through a three-month process. The House is expected to follow suit but has yet to make the shift, and Speier called for a sweeping overhaul of a system that can force harassment victims to wait for months, and undergo mandatory mediation, before filing a complaint. It was a male, who then invited her in. "By the way. the general counsel of the House is representing the harasser".

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