Home lawmakers describe sexual harassment found in Congress

Washington (CNN) Two female Residence lawmakers on Tuesday accused sitting down man lawmakers of sexual harassment and misconduct, including an allegation that a man lawmaker exposed his genitals to a female staffer.

Neither Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, nor Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican, known as the lawmakers in question during a hearing in the House administration committee, however the accounts reverberated on Capitol Hill, where former and current aides possess described sexual harassment as “pervasive.”

Speier, a Democrat who also has gone people with her own allegations of sexual assault while she served as a good Hill aide decades before, testified prior to the panel Tuesday that two currently sitting down members of Congress — 1 Democrat, 1 Republican — have “engaged found in sexual harassment” but contain not yet been reviewed.

Speier, who provides proposed legislation that would change the House’s policy and produce sexual harassment training mandatory for associates and their employees, also said she has heard tales of “victims having their individual parts grabbed on the House floor.”

During the hearing to examine the House’s sexual harassment guidelines, Comstock said it was “important that we name names.”

During her opening assertion, she informed a gripping report of a young feminine aide who was simply asked to deliver resources to a male member of Congress. When the woman attained the member’s residence, the member greeted her in a towel, Comstock said, and proceeded to expose himself.

After the incident, the woman quit her job. The lawmaker, whom Comstock did not name, remains in business office.

“She left, she found another task. But that kind of situation — what are we doing right here for women right now who are working with somebody like this?” Comstock said.

The hearing by the panel, which oversees the chamber’s operations, is part of an assessment of how the Residence handles sexual harassment claims.

It comes amid growing calls for an overhaul of the way Congress handles allegations of sexual harassment, including a good letter signed by more than 1,500 former Hill staffers who wish to see reform for what they state are “inadequate” sexual harassment guidelines in Congress. Several lawmakers also have come ahead and shared tales of harassment they faced — either throughout their period as lawmakers or if they previously done Capitol Hill as aides.

Both House Loudspeaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Head Mitch McConnell of Kentucky support ramping up sexual harassment training, as does Residence Minority Head Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Following the hearing Tuesday, Ryan issued a statement saying, “Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all People and staff.”

“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly apparent that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” Ryan said in the statement.

Until Ryan’s announcement Tuesday, there was no requirement for sexual harassment trained in the House of Representatives. Individual office buildings could voluntarily possess their staffs show up at trainings offered by the Office of Compliance. The Senate just simply last week passed an answer making sexual harassment training mandatory, not just for staffers and interns, but also for senators.

Lawmakers Tuesday focused also on the long-term ramifications of sexual harassment and misconduct on the Capitol.

One lawmaker, Republican Rodney Davis of Illinois, said that some feminine staffers in his business office worried that “some office buildings might take a shortcut rather than hire women in an effort to avoid these issues.”

“Certainly, that’s not the right approach,” he said.

Various lawmakers and victims of sexual harassment in Capitol Hill have complained about the procedure where sexual harassment reports are taken care of at the Capitol. Even so, Gloria Lett, counsel in the office of House Occupation, who testified at Tuesday’s hearing, said that she believed in the process and thought it proved helpful “very effectively.”

She also noted that conditions between workers and lawmakers are “very rare” and that mediation conditions are overwhelmingly between two workers.

Different Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would change the way sexual harassment complaints are taken care of.

Speier told CNN’s “New Day” previous Tuesday that current policy dictates that individuals coming ahead with harassment complaints have to proceed through a three-month process.

“If someone really wants to form a complaint they have to go through a month of legal counseling. … They choose through mediation. And then they have to proceed through a one-month ‘cooling off’ period, all the while they are still required to work for the reason that business office that was a hostile work place,” she said. “By the way … the general counsel of the House is definitely representing the harasser. The victim has no counsel, no support.”

In the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, a fresh York Democrat, is proposing a bill that would streamline the reporting course of action at work of Compliance, the little-known office that handles such complaints.

Barbara Childs Wallace, the chair of the Office of Compliance’s table of directors, called the mandatory training that lawmakers are calling for a required first rung on the ladder, but said more alterations are needed to improve the lifestyle on Capitol Hill.

“Leadership within each business office is also important, and letting the staff members know where they are able to go to complain is vitally important,” Childs Wallace told lawmakers. “But mandatory training is one very important component of trying to avoid this.”

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