Senate Women Push for Vote to Strengthen Congressional Harassment Protections

April 06, 2018

All 22 women Senators are urging leadership to "update and strengthen the procedures available to survivors of all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination in congressional workplaces."  In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senators expressed "deep disappointment" that the chamber hasn't enacted meaningful reforms after the House approved its own update to Congress's system for handling harassment and discrimination claims in February.  The letter notes the House bill "includes a number of important provisions, such as eliminating waiting periods before a victim can take their case to court, increased transparency for awards and settlements, and a requirement that Members of the Senate and House pay for an award or settlement stemming from a case of sexual harassment or discrimination that they personally commit."  Sen. Schumer said he "strongly agree[s] that the Senate should quickly take up legislation to combat sexual harassment on Capitol Hill," and a spokesman for Sen. McConnell said he "supports members being personally financially liable for sexual misconduct in which they have engaged."  Meanwhile, further action is unlikely until a bipartisan group of senators completes work on a measure to address the issue.