Health Care

Speier: 2 current congressmen have engaged in sexual harassment

Speier: 2 current congressmen have engaged in sexual harassment”

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a member on the committee, also said she had heard of a congressman who is now serving who had exposed himself to a young female staffer.

House lawmakers on Tuesday joined together to discuss sexual harassment policies after a series of allegations sparked calls for reform on Capitol Hill.

Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that she knows of two members of Congress who are now in office ― a Democrat and a Republican ― who have sexually harassed staffers.

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.

"In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have been subject to review or not have been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment", Speier said in remarks during a House Administration committee hearing on Capitol Hill harassment policies.

"Many of us in Congress know what it's like", she said in a video posted to Twitter. Before Speier spoke, however, Representative Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) said a member "decided to expose himself" to a young female aide sent to drop off materials at his home.

Since sharing her story, she said she has heard from a number of men and women, both current and former staffers, who have been subject to sexual harassment.

Speier has introduced bipartisan legislation that would require mandatory training for her House colleagues and their staffs and plans to introduce another bill that would improve the complaint process.

She left the lawmaker's house and quit her job, Comstock said.

"I strongly encourage you to complete sexual harassment training and to mandate the training for your staff". "Our goal must be a culture where everyone who works in our offices feels safe and able to fulfill their duties".

One lawmaker, Republican Rodney Davis of IL, said that some female staffers in his office anxious that "some offices might take a short cut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues".

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

Earlier this month, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), now a member of the House Democratic leadership, told The Associated Press that a male lawmaker had repeatedly ogled her and at one point inappropriately touched her on the House floor. "The victim has no counsel, no support".



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