House, Senate overhaul sexual harassment policy

U.S. Senate. Photo: www.senate.gov

Dec. 14 (UPI) — The House on Thursday passed a law changing how Congress handles sexual harassment allegations, joining the Senate in support for the legislation.

Both chambers passed the update of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 unanimously, sending it to President Donald Trump‘s desk for a signature.

The compromise legislation came about after a number of members of Congress were accused of sexual misconduct, including former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Others came under fire for using taxpayer dollars to settle allegations, like former Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas.

All three men resigned amid the criticism.

The bill eliminates 30-day periods for counseling, mediation and “cooling off,” which are all required for victims of sexual harassment under the Congressional Accountability Act. Members of Congress also would be personally liable to pay harassment and retaliation settlements.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., co-sponsored the legislation.

“This will fundamentally change the way sexual harassment cases are handled in Congress and protect victims instead of protecting politicians,” Klobuchar tweeted after the House passage.

 

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