Capitol Hill's sexual harassment bill fight not expected to be resolved before Election Day

The months-long negotiations over the long-stalled sexual harassment legislation on Capitol Hill have not yi...

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 5:10 AM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 5:10 AM

The months-long negotiations over the long-stalled sexual harassment legislation on Capitol Hill have not yielded a final product yet, with some concern starting to emerge among Senate and House negotiators that a final bill could not be passed before Election Day.

Such a delay would show that nearly a year after the #metoo campaign swept through Congress last fall, lawmakers may not have passed a bill to remedy the way sexual harassment claims are made and handled on Capitol Hill.

Discrimination

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Legislation

Political Figures - US

Politics

Roy Blunt

Sex and gender issues

Sexual harassment

Societal issues

Society

US Congress

US House of Representatives

US Senate

"I felt pretty good about this prior to the House taking their long scheduled break in August and we haven't really progressed much since then," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, one of the Senate negotiators, told CNN Wednesday. "I don't know if it is now likely in the working days that we have left that will get this done before the election."

Aides working on the negotiations on both sides of the aisle, from both the House and Senate, tell CNN that talks to merge the House and Senate bills into one bill are still ongoing -- progress, all sides say, has happened slowly and there is still a genuine commitment to getting something done, eventually.

But multiple congressional aides working on the negotiations also tell CNN that there is growing impatience as the calendar inches towards Election Day.

"The idea that it has taken this long to get done in the first place is absurd," a congressional aide working on the negotiations tells CNN. "My concern is --- is everyone on the same page here or are they going to stall?"

That concern of stalling is echoed from numerous aides.

Some openly questioning if midterm politics are at play, suggesting that members of the House have little motivation to get something done before Election Day, because most likely the final piece of legislation that gets negotiated will ultimately become less stringent than the version the House passed earlier this year.

That's a charge that Blunt seems to agree with.

"I think there are always election implications of these things," Blunt told CNN, "One might be 'why do you want to give any ground on a bill that you've contended is the perfect way to solve the problem and then explain that in the few days before the election.'"

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has led efforts in the House dating back to last November, believes that progress is being made, her office said Wednesday, noting that if something does not get done before the election they are confident it would be worked out pretty soon thereafter.

The legislation would reform the Congressional Accountability Act, which set up and oversees the process for how sexual harassment complaints are made and handled on Capitol Hill and would hold lawmakers personally liable for paying settlements.

The House passed its version of the legislation in February. The Senate wrote their own bill, a vastly different version, in May.

Since then aides from the two respective committees have been meeting in earnest to try to iron out the differences between the two bills to create one piece of legislation that could be signed into law.

In July negotiators on both sides told CNN they were making steady progress, so much so that establishing a formal conference committee -- where the House and Senate leadership appoint members of Congress to work out the differences, would not be needed.

But in the time since, House and Senate negotiators tell CNN the sticking points between the two sides started with -- over member's personal liability and the details of investigations and numerous other areas -- still remain.

"I thought we were about there at the end of July -- but we never quite got where we needed to get, to get this done," Blunt said.

Complicating their efforts is the very little time left on the legislative agenda before Election Day in November. The House of Representatives is in session for just 15 legislative days before November 6.

Still, aides and members of the Senate Rules Committee and the House Administration Committee continue to meet and trade legislative text, even as recently as this week hoping for real progress.

"I think it can come together very quickly -- I think it's just the question of, is there a will to do that?" another congressional aide working on the negotiations said.

Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, an outgoing Democratic member of Congress says it will be "unacceptable" but unsurprising if the midterm elections come and there is no bill passed.

"It wouldn't be remarkable to me that we won't pass something given the state of dysfunctionality that exists in Washington right now," Crowley said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. "It's been talked about for almost a year now and it's been really remarkable the slow progress that has been made."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 455783

Reported Deaths: 6166
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin945441502
Ramsey40698749
Dakota33623354
Anoka31398368
Washington20579237
Stearns18111190
St. Louis14006251
Scott1221199
Wright11811107
Olmsted1083075
Sherburne831270
Carver705639
Clay660684
Rice624774
Kandiyohi558772
Blue Earth549533
Crow Wing490678
Otter Tail464968
Chisago460438
Benton423788
Winona394948
Douglas379766
Nobles374847
Mower374429
Goodhue358163
Polk330760
McLeod328647
Beltrami316148
Morrison314645
Lyon306139
Becker289439
Itasca287843
Isanti286143
Carlton284443
Steele279510
Pine270515
Freeborn254723
Todd233730
Nicollet230538
Brown218634
Mille Lacs215745
Le Sueur214416
Cass210824
Meeker201533
Waseca193316
Wabasha17483
Martin172026
Roseau166517
Hubbard151138
Redwood141327
Houston140314
Dodge13974
Renville138540
Chippewa133232
Cottonwood129118
Fillmore12778
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111533
Faribault110116
Sibley11017
Watonwan10698
Pennington101016
Kanabec99818
Pipestone97223
Yellow Medicine95016
Murray9137
Jackson87310
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70415
Clearwater68814
Lake66415
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching60810
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Unassigned43968
Grant4388
Norman4268
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2623
Lake of the Woods1981
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312194

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46975465
Linn18114279
Scott15900172
Black Hawk14123243
Woodbury13145181
Johnson1231752
Dubuque11651159
Pottawattamie9182115
Dallas910872
Story883538
Cerro Gordo474372
Webster473377
Warren461539
Sioux460457
Clinton459168
Marshall432262
Buena Vista397230
Muscatine396578
Des Moines395543
Plymouth353670
Wapello351798
Jasper333359
Lee326932
Marion310853
Jones275250
Henry269131
Carroll258934
Bremer250448
Crawford235824
Washington224133
Boone223517
Benton213950
Mahaska198637
Jackson195332
Tama190959
Dickinson189229
Kossuth180944
Delaware176536
Clay173021
Wright167624
Fayette166324
Hamilton162530
Buchanan162324
Winneshiek161020
Harrison158762
Hardin157831
Cedar155819
Clayton153949
Butler152324
Page148115
Floyd141936
Cherokee140327
Mills138517
Lyon137933
Poweshiek135424
Hancock132424
Allamakee131530
Iowa128022
Madison124210
Calhoun12379
Grundy122828
Jefferson122425
Winnebago122329
Mitchell117137
Louisa116430
Cass115343
Chickasaw113812
Appanoose113040
Sac112815
Union111723
Emmet111332
Humboldt107819
Shelby106427
Guthrie104624
Franklin103618
Unassigned10210
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery89224
Keokuk86426
Howard85919
Monroe82620
Clarke8199
Pocahontas78711
Ida76430
Davis70421
Adair69720
Greene6977
Monona68418
Lucas66910
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6009
Fremont5276
Van Buren50515
Decatur4994
Ringgold45511
Audubon4258
Wayne42021
Adams3023
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Mostly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 13°
Mason City
Mostly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 19° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: -2°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
10° wxIcon
Hi: 17° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 10°
Austin
Cloudy
14° wxIcon
Hi: 19° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 14°
Charles City
Cloudy
12° wxIcon
Hi: 19° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 4°
Cold and dry through Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Gov. Walz unveils state budget proposal

Image

St. Charles starts season strong

Image

The threat of cyber-crime remains powerful

Image

Tuesday's local highlights and scores

Image

Just for Kix's "virtual" Winter recital

Image

New grant available for Iowa bars and restaurants

Image

Is hydrogen the future of fuel in Minnesota?

Image

Gov. Walz unveils two-year state budget proposal

Image

Pandemic impact on youth suicide

Image

Bernie Sanders Mittens

Community Events