US House to Adopt Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training for Members, Staffs

Lawmakers say some in Congress are harassers, new policies may be needed

On Tuesday, speaking before the Committee on House Administration, Speier said that since launching #MeTooCongress, current and former staffers have flooded her office with stories of unwanted sexual advances, touching, and, in one case, exposure.

The staffer subsequently quit, Comstock said. It was a male who then invited her in.

"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.

"A young staffer had been asked to go to a member's residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she made a decision to quit the office and has moved on", Comstock said.

"What are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?"

It comes amid growing calls for an overhaul of the way Congress handles allegations of sexual harassment, including a letter signed by more than 1,500 former Hill staffers who want to see reform for what they say are "inadequate" sexual harassment policies in Congress.

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


"Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution", Speaker Paul Ryan said.

Congressional leaders said they are ready to order mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for all offices of the U.S. House, but there is no timetable for getting that done. Payouts to the victims were not financed by the people who engaged in sexual harassment but by taxpayers.

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

Meanwhile, several Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would change the way sexual harassment complaints are handled. The victim must go through mandatory counseling for 30 days and the accused receives free legal counsel through Congress, while the victim is on his or her own.

"This member asked a staffer to bring them over some materials to their residence and the young staffer, it was a woman".

The hearing called attention to the incredibly convoluted process a staffer must undergo to report an incident to the congressional Office of Compliance.

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