'Time is running out': Former Hill staffers urge Congress to pass stalled sexual harassment legislation

As lawmakers return to Washington after the midterms, a group of former Capitol Hill staffers is calling for...

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 5:07 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 5:07 PM

As lawmakers return to Washington after the midterms, a group of former Capitol Hill staffers is calling for the passage of long-stalled sexual harassment legislation before the current session of Congress ends and warning that "time is running out" to enact reform.

In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders, the former staffers write, "we have been encouraged by reports of progress and positive discussion. Unfortunately, time is running out to make these improvements a reality. As the lame duck session begins, many critical and time-sensitive issues will be competing for Congress' attention. We implore you to continue making this one your focus."

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Discrimination

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Legislation

Politics

Sex crimes

Sexual harassment

Sexual misconduct

Societal issues

Society

US Congress

US House of Representatives

Violence in society

Sex and gender issues

Sex discrimination

US Senate

#MeToo movement

Lawmakers are coming back to Washington to a busy few weeks, including an upcoming showdown over spending and funding for President Donald Trump's promise of a US-Mexico border wall that could trigger a partial government shutdown.

But the letter shines a spotlight on the fact that lawmakers have yet to reach a final agreement to overhaul the process for how sexual harassment claims are made and handled on Capitol Hill after the House and Senate passed their own versions of bills addressing the issue earlier this year.

It has been more than a year since the #MeToo movement focused national attention on the issue of sexual harassment and misconduct. Over the past year, Congress has grappled with #MeToo moments of its own as a number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were forced to resign after women came forward with misconduct allegations against them.

The letter is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several other lawmakers.

It is signed by Kristin Nicholson and Travis Moore, the co-founders of Congress Too, a group of former congressional staffers who support reforming sexual harassment and discrimination policies in Congress, as well as other former Hill staffers. Some of the former staffers who signed onto the letter have previously spoken publicly about being subject to harassment or discrimination while working on the Hill.

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of another letter sent by Nicholson, Moore and more than 1,500 former congressional staffers calling for reform on Capitol Hill to counter harassment.

"Exactly one year ago, many of us joined over 1,500 of our fellow former congressional staff members in urging you to undertake a series of reforms aimed at recognizing and combating the problem of sexual harassment and discrimination on Capitol Hill. Today we write to thank you for your efforts on the issue to date and to express our hope that you will take the necessary steps to bring those efforts to fruition before the end of the 115th Congress," the letter states.

The letter calls on lawmakers to include several components in any final agreement.

"First, it is critical that counseling and mediation be voluntary and that victims have the ability to opt in to these alternatives, rather than being forced to opt out," the letter states.

"Second, it is important that reform legislation provide for meaningful, independent investigation of harassment and discrimination claims," and, "Third, American taxpayers deserve to know when Treasury funds have been used to settle employment claims in Congress."

The signatories of the letter also write that a final deal "should require members of Congress to personally reimburse the Treasury for settlement of any claim of harassment or discrimination committed by that Member."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 448268

Reported Deaths: 6013
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin931011480
Ramsey40016739
Dakota33072340
Anoka30999364
Washington20164228
Stearns17871187
St. Louis13690241
Scott1195496
Wright11614104
Olmsted1048475
Sherburne821365
Carver694836
Clay653280
Rice606868
Kandiyohi554371
Blue Earth541033
Crow Wing482774
Otter Tail457167
Chisago452732
Benton420186
Winona389646
Douglas374166
Nobles370846
Mower365529
Goodhue347958
Polk328658
McLeod325345
Morrison311744
Beltrami310347
Lyon302236
Becker284939
Itasca284543
Isanti282841
Carlton280043
Steele27379
Pine266713
Freeborn245321
Todd231730
Nicollet224636
Brown215134
Mille Lacs214246
Le Sueur210015
Cass207623
Meeker199733
Waseca189316
Wabasha17083
Martin170026
Roseau165416
Hubbard149338
Redwood139727
Renville137539
Houston135913
Dodge13474
Chippewa131332
Cottonwood127218
Fillmore12355
Wadena120116
Rock110212
Sibley10857
Aitkin108433
Watonwan10668
Faribault105916
Pennington99215
Kanabec97818
Pipestone94423
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85610
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70215
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63715
Wilkin6259
Koochiching59610
Lincoln4841
Big Stone4573
Unassigned43768
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3174
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 305606

Reported Deaths: 4278
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45754449
Linn17795275
Scott15444163
Black Hawk13773236
Woodbury13016175
Johnson1211749
Dubuque11387150
Pottawattamie8992112
Dallas888671
Story869434
Webster469771
Cerro Gordo466768
Sioux455157
Clinton450361
Warren443938
Marshall427761
Buena Vista393429
Muscatine390477
Des Moines381841
Plymouth350368
Wapello344198
Jasper321959
Lee317130
Marion304952
Jones271349
Henry264330
Carroll255434
Bremer245048
Crawford231022
Boone218417
Washington217632
Benton209444
Mahaska193136
Jackson192031
Tama187757
Dickinson186026
Delaware173736
Kossuth173644
Clay168820
Wright164824
Fayette162322
Hamilton160029
Buchanan159923
Winneshiek155719
Harrison155162
Hardin154729
Cedar153219
Clayton151448
Butler148224
Page144715
Floyd139636
Cherokee139027
Mills136416
Lyon135332
Poweshiek132724
Hancock130224
Allamakee127928
Iowa125422
Calhoun12279
Grundy121226
Jefferson120724
Madison12039
Winnebago119429
Mitchell116234
Louisa115030
Cass113341
Chickasaw111612
Sac111215
Emmet110831
Appanoose110538
Union108822
Humboldt105519
Guthrie103024
Shelby102926
Franklin102418
Unassigned9310
Palo Alto9079
Montgomery85622
Keokuk85026
Howard84219
Monroe81218
Clarke7957
Pocahontas77611
Ida74630
Greene6927
Davis69121
Adair68820
Lucas6508
Monona64016
Osceola6409
Worth6113
Taylor5949
Fremont5126
Van Buren49712
Decatur4894
Ringgold4389
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2963
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 27°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 0°
Feels Like: 29°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: 29°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 28°
A roller coaster of temperatures
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Rochester Terminates Lease for Legends Bar & Grill

Image

City council terminates Legends lease, moves forward with demolition plans

Image

First round of vaccine completed at Good Shepard

Image

City Council discusses future of Legends property

Image

Catholic Presidency

Image

Bringing Urban Agriculture To DMC

Image

First Facility In Mower County To Receive Vaccine

Image

Inauguration Day In Class

Image

Iowa Lawmakers working together

Image

Olmsted County Covid Relief Funds

Community Events