Female Dem says at least two current members engaged in sexual harassment

House of Representatives Retains Outside Counsel to Investigate Sexual Harassment Allegations

"In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have been subject to review or not have been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment", Speier said in remarks during a House Administration committee hearing on Capitol Hill harassment policies.

The Me Too Act, named after the social media campaign that flooded Twitter and Facebook feeds in recent weeks and brought to light the frequency with which women from all walks of life cope with sexual harassment and assault, demands an overhaul of the complaint process women in Congress must navigate in order to report sexual misconduct.

State governments' practice of spending taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment lawsuits against legislators and staff has created an uproar in California's Legislature and other statehouses around the country.

Speier has become the poster child for the fight for sexual harassment awareness on the Hill after sharing her own story of being assaulted by a high-level aide while she was a staffer.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said she is barred from identifying one member because of a non-disclosure agreement, and isn't identifying the second lawmaker at the victim's request.

Barbara Comstock testified about what she knew, saying it was "important that we name names".

Currently, victims are required to undergo counseling, mediation and a 30-day "cooling off period" before filing a formal complaint with the Office of Compliance. "Congress created the Office of Compliance to protect itself from being exposed", Speier charged at the press conference. And the new legislation would require that if there is a settlement, the name of the office and the amount will be posted on a public website. But per House rules, the only lawmakers who are allowed to review the settlements are the chairman and ranking member of the House Administration Committee, which oversees the chamber's internal operations.

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Under the proposed bill, members of Congress and their staff would be required to undergo sexual harassment training. Those settlements, however, included other claims, among them racial discrimination, ageism and sexual harassment. That includes two who here harassed by current members of Congress.

One possible solution to the issue has already been suggested - mandatory sexual harassment training for all lawmakers and their staff.

But they're not likely to move almost as quickly on this latest proposal.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sen.

Speier said it was unlikely Congress would act on this legislation this year because the legislative calendar is already crowded through December.

But she and her cosponsors insisted that their colleagues should welcome increased transparency about harassment, even if it's going on in their offices. "We are employers", he said, "so how we would process that, how we would handle an employee if they were mistreated, or they did raise a concern, speaks to the character and integrity of how we operate our offices". "I think all of our constituents will want to know that we take that obligation seriously".

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