Gregg Harper

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said in December that a bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on the Hill would put victims on “a level playing field.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

House Sexual Harassment Legislation Still Being Developed
Goal is to release bill next week, says House Administration Committee chairman

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman on the House Administration Committee, says legislation to update sexual harassment procedures is still in development. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper said Wednesday that a measure updating sexual harassment procedures he had planned to introduce this week is still being fine-tuned but that he’s hopeful it will be ready for release early next week.

If he can meet that new due date, a markup on the measure could be held later that week, the Mississippi Republican said.

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

Mississippi’s Gregg Harper Not Running for Re-Election
Harper will leave behind Solid Republican seat

Mississippi Rep. Rep. Gregg Harper is not running for a sixth term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi GOP Rep. Gregg Harper, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, will not run for re-election in 2018. 

“I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us,” Harper said in a statement.

10 Issues Congress Faces in January
Budget, DACA, health care, sexual harassment on to-do list

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be among the Hill leaders negotiating deals on a host of major issues confronting Congress in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the second session of the 115th Congress kicks off Wednesday, lawmakers are confronted with a daunting January to-do list full of issues they punted on in 2017.

Typically, January is a slow legislative month leading up to the party caucuses’ annual retreats, where lawmakers formally develop an agenda for the year. House and Senate Republicans will hold a joint retreat from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, and House Democrats will huddle the following week in Cambridge, Maryland.

No Definite Sexual Harassment Settlements in Senate, Data Shows
Data from 1997 to 2017 reveals one case of sex discrimination

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., released information on settlements involving Senate offices Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:38 a.m. | The Senate appears to have kept a clean slate over the last two decades with regard to sexual harassment settlements, newly released data shows.

The Office of Compliance paid nearly $600,000 from its taxpayer-funded Awards and Settlement Fund to senator-led office employees for 13 settlements — but none of those were filed as sexual harassment cases, according to OOC data made public Thursday by the Senate Rules and Appropriations committees.

House Boots Anti-Harassment Legislation Into January, Too
‘We haven’t finished it yet; we’re still working through it’

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., left (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most major legislative issues Congress had hoped to address in December, the House punted into January its planned release of a bill updating sexual harassment policies.

“We haven’t finished it yet; we’re still working through it,” House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper said.

Senate Republicans Withholding OOC Settlements Data
Info could include settlements for cases with sexual harassment allegations

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has not publicly released Senate office settlements data his Appropriations Committee received from the Office of Compliance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Republican chairmen of the Senate Rules and Appropriations Committees are not releasing data from the Congressional Office of Compliance that give a statistical breakdown of workplace settlements involving Senate offices dating back two decades.

These settlements could include — but would not be limited to — cases involving claims of sexual harassment or discrimination, a flashpoint issue on Capitol Hill over the last two months.

Measure Aims to Bill Lawmakers for Sexual Harassment Claims
Taxpayer dollars for settlements recently revealed

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., hopes to make lawmakers personally liable for their sexual harassment settlements. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are working on legislation to make members of Congress liable for settlements over sexual harassment claims against them.

The efforts to overhaul the sexual harassment settlement payment process comes after the Congressional Office of Compliance (OOC) released data this month that revealed at leastfour cases in which offices used a total of $199,000 of taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims.

House Panel Approves Sexual Harassment Training Guidelines
‘Sea change’ in culture is sought

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman of the House Administration Committee, said new guidelines for sexual harassment and discrimination training represent a “sea change” in culture. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee on Tuesday approved guidelines for implementing newly mandated sexual harassment and discrimination training, as members were set to unveil this week more legislation that would respond to allegations of sexual misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

The panel adopted by voice vote a set of regulations governing fulfillment of the training, including that it must be in person, have options for reporting complaints even from a bystander and that trainees must be allowed to ask questions anonymously. The House adopted a resolution Nov. 29 that mandated training for all House members and staff — but left the substance of the effort to the Administration Committee.