sexual harassment

House offices on timeline to implement anti-harassment policies
The House took steps to further codify protections following last year’s dispute over how Congress should prevent harassment and discrimination

House offices have 60 days to implement an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Thursday to further codify a more appropriate culture on Capitol Hill, following last year’s prolonged dispute over how Congress should protect its own staff from harassment and discrimination.

The House Administration Committee voted to approve regulations for mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for House offices. 

House moves to protect federal interns from harassment and discrimination

The House voted on a measure by Rep. Eijah Cummings, D-Md., to protect federal interns from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House took action Tuesday to protect the youngest members of the federal workforce, interns, from workplace harassment and discrimination.

The House passed by voice vote a measure from Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, that would extend certain federal employee protections to unpaid interns in the federal government. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and a version of his measure also passed in the 115th Congress.

Opposition to Pay-As-You-Go Proposal Prevents Unity on House Democrats’ Rules Package
Other changes designed to open up the legislative process have broad support

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said he will oppose House Democrats’ rules package for the 116th Congress because of a provision known as pay-as-you-go or PAYGO that requires offsets for deficit increasing legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ rules for the 116th Congress contain a wide array of consensus changes, but a pay-as-you-go provision that would require offsets for deficit-increasing legislation is preventing party unity on the package. 

At least two progressive members, California Rep. Ro Khanna and New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said they will oppose the rules package because of the provision. 

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

Lawmakers Reach Deal to Tackle Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill
New agreement would end heavily criticized ‘cooling off’ period

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is displayed on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. The noble fir was harvested on Nov. 2 from Willamette National Forest in Oregon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress will act quickly on compromise legislation to overhaul how sexual harassment is handled on Capitol Hill. The new proposal, released Wednesday, has the backing of leadership in both chambers and parties.

Negotiations to reconcile the separate House and Senate proposals that passed easily early this year have dragged on for months. But swift action is expected in the Senate this week and the House the following week.

House Could Go Its Own Way on Sexual Harassment Policy, Says Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House could accept some of the Senate’s sexual harassment proposals and then tighten their own rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi has a plan to move forward on the proposals to overhaul sexual harassment policies on Capitol Hill before year’s end, but House Republicans say they’re still working on a strong compromise. Senators, meanwhile, are looking past negotiations and toward getting a final bill passed.

The House minority leader signaled Thursday that House negotiators may be willing to accept some of the Senate language that they’ve been rejecting for being less stringent. 

Clock Ticks Down on Sexual Harassment Proposals for Congress
#MeToo provided momentum earlier in the year, but that has stalled

Congress is running out of time to enact changes to how sexual harassment is handled in their own workplace. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is running out of time to make changes to how sexual harassment is handled in its own workplace, as negotiations between House and Senate proposals drag on and legislative days dry up.

Leaders in both chambers say they want to finish reconciling the legislation and move toward implementing change before the lame-duck session is over, but it’s unclear if that will happen.

Ethics Committee Cites ‘Recent Experience’ as Need for Sexual Harassment Overhaul
Panel suggests difficulty obtaining information from the Office of Compliance

The House Ethics Committee is urging quick passage of legislation to address sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 10 members of the House Ethics Committee are urging the top four congressional leaders to quickly pass anti-sexual harassment legislation to overhaul the Congressional Accountability Act, noting the House bill would provide solutions to problems the panel has encountered this year. 

In a letter dated Monday that all members signed, they cite the House bill’s provision that would require the Office of Compliance, which would be renamed the Office of Workplace Rights, to refer certain matters to the committee, providing the panel access to any records regarding investigations, hearings, decisions, settlements or claims.

Ethics Committee Finds Mark Meadows in Violation of House Rules

The House Ethics Committee found Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in violation of House rules due to how he handled a sexual harassment allegations against one of his staff members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee found Rep. Mark Meadows failed to take “prompt and decisive action” to handle alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office, according to a Friday report.

The committee also found Meadows violated House rules by failing to take action to ensure his office was not engaging in discrimination.

Time Running Out on Hill Sexual Harassment Reforms, Former Staffers Warn
One year after #metoo movement spurred Congress to action, House and Senate bills could expire

Senate staffers and visitors pass by the plexiglass-enclosed displays of the various U.S. Capitol building design models in the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress will forfeit a passed bill from each chamber aimed at curbing sexual harassment unless lawmakers can come together before year’s end.

“Time is running out,” said Kristin Nicholson, co-founder of Congress Too, a group of former Hill staffers that has sought to reform the way Congress approaches staff training and response to sexual harassment allegations. “We really want all that progress not to go to waste, and for that to happen, we need something to be passed this year.”