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Last Updated Nov 29, 2017 10:43 AM EST
House Republican leaders addressed the issue of sexual harassment consuming Capitol Hill.
“Like many Americans, I’m troubled by the reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in the workplace,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
“It’s rocking Capitol Hill as well as elsewhere across the country,” she said. “This is not who were are. We can and we must do better.”
McMorris Rodgers said that Congress should be “leading by example” and must be “held to a higher standard.”
“Sexual harassment has no place in any workplace — let alone the United States Congress,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.
Ryan said that the fact that people have have subjected to a threatening or hostile work environment on Capitol Hill is “wrong” and a “disgrace.”
The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution that requires educating members and staff on appropriate and inappropriate behavior and will also cover interns, paid and unpaid. The House Administration Committee will hold a hearing on the Congressional Accountability Act on Dec. 7, said its chairman, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi.
Since he took over as chairman of the panel in January, he said Wednesday that he has not seen a “single settlement” come to his desk. Harper said that they are aware that since the inception of the Accountability Act, from 1997 to the present, total number of settlements have totaled $17 million on more than 260 claims. However, he said some of those include a large number of anthrax claims from 2002 and a large number of asbestos claims from 2007.
“What we don’t have and we’re trying to get is a breakdown on how many of those claims are member sexual harassment,” Harper said. “I think that’s a fair question.”
Ryan said that GOP leaders are not notified when settlements are made, and they aren’t aware of the names of lawmakers who are involved.
“We don’t know those names,” he said.
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