tv U.S. House of Representatives Sexual Harassment CSPAN November 29, 2017 8:15pm-9:12pm EST
visit ncicap.org] >> the house today approved a resolution that included antidiscrimination and anti-harassment training. members talked about the measure and working conditions for those working in congressional offices. this is an hour. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of this house resolution. the resolution is one part of the committee on house administration's comprehensive review of the laws, procedures and resources concerning workplace harassment in the house. a harassment-free policy and workplace is vital in creating the culture -- the speaker pro tempore: the house is not in order. the gentleman will continue. mr. harper: a harassment-free workplace is vital in creating the culture that will require everyone on capitol hill to work together effectively.
first and foremost, mr. speaker, there is no place for sexual harassment in our society and especially in congress, period. i believe as members of congress we must hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard that demonstrates we are worthy of the trust placed to us by our constituents and the american public. there have been a number of accounts by current and former colleagues and staff that suggests not every office is achieving this goal. that's simply unacceptable. this resolution will mandate that each member, officer, employee, intern, and fellow of the house of representatives is fully aware of the laws that apply to them and their right to a harassment-free workplace under the congressional accountability act. the committee on house administration recently held a hearing as its first step in its review. we heard from members, house employment counsel, and the office of compliance. there was a broad consensus
that mandatory training is a necessary step for the house to prevent and eliminate harassment in the workplace. it is important to note, mr. speaker, that republicans and democrats have joined together to take this step, and i want to specifically thank representative comstock and representative speier for their leadership on this issue. the resolution requires training and education to ensure that each member, officer, employee, intern, paid or unpaid, and fellow knows their obligations and rights. further, the resolution requires that each congressional office post in a prominent place a notice describing the rights and protections provided to house employees under the congressional accountability act. both of these measures are regular order in the private workplace, and the house should do nothing less. the american people have entrusted each of their representatives with enormous
responsibility. each member is sent here to help make our country better, and the first place we should start is in our own chamber, training a workplace rights and responsibilities will ensuring those who are victims of harassment can obtain justice and work in that harassment-free environment. in ronald reagan's fare well address he spoke of his vision of america as the shining city on the hill, one built on rocks stronger than oceans with everyone living in harmony and peace. we are not perfect, and we never will be, but i believe in that vision. this resolution can be one important step to protect the members of our capitol hill community and to demand we have respect for each and every person here in this workplace. the resolution sets an important requirement that each member, officer, employee, including interns and fellows, must undergo this mandatory
training or education every year. for the current congress, everyone must complete this training within 180 days of the start of the second session, january 3. following that, individuals will have to complete the training within 90 days of the start of each session. it's often said that the urgent gets in the way of the important on capitol hill. not today. this is an important issue, and today we will vote to ensure that the entire house community receives the needed training on how to ensure a harassment-free workplace. this harassment-free environment should be afforded to every single member of our community. from pa unpaid intern to -- that unpaid intern to the speaker of the house. awareness, education and training is the first step in the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment, which has no place on capitol hill. i look forward to working with my colleagues to achieve this goal, and mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. .
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today in support of this resolution. we would not be here today if it was not for the courage of my friend and colleague, the congresswoman from california, jackie speier. mr. brady: all of us should be grateful for her leadership on this issue. this resolution is a start, but it is just a start. we have to reform the congressional accountability act. we have to modendize to fully fund the office of compliance, and there is much more to do. i i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman appreciate the effort chairman, mr. harper, and the seriousness with which he has taken this issue and committed to bipartisan progress. the status quo cannot and will be tolerated. passing this resolution begins with the first step here. mr. speaker, i'd like to now yield one minute to the gentlelady, our democratic leader, miss pa lowsy. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady -- ms. pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized.
s. pelosi: thank you very much to the gentleman from philadelphia, from pennsylvania. mr. brady. thank you for your leadership. thank you, mr. chairman harper, for yours as well. thank you for bringing this legislation to the floor. here it is. november 28, 2017, an historic day in the history of the congress. a water shed moment in our congress' history because it is a day in which we will take the opportunity to make change. this body is taking a constructive first step to protect all members of our legislative community from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. this vote is vital to upholding the integrity of the u.s. congress. 're grateful for the
tremendous leadership of congresswoman jackie speier. i have observed her leadership on this subject for a very long tremendous leadership of time. she has a lifetime commitment to exposing and ending the scourge of sexual harassment. i thank her for that leadership. i want to also acknowledge my own daughter, christine pelosi, the chair of the women's caucus of the california democratic party. she was a former prosecutor in san francisco. prosecuted these cases. strong been a strong, advocate for protecting people in the workplace. and has had some level of success with that. here we're at this water shed moment in the nationwide fight against sexual harassment and discrimination. brave women in every corner of the country and every industry are making their voices heard. as members of congress, we have a moral duty to show real effective leadership to foster a
climate of respect and dignity in the workplace with absolutely zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, or abuse. anything less is unacceptable, my colleagues. requiring the members and staff to take training while valuable, and we must have it, must be only a first step. and we must make sure that that training is very effective as well. but the next step for congress to take is to pass the me too congress act, introduced by congresswoman spirkse to create greater transparency and accountability in the broken reporting and settlement system. taxpayer money should not have been spent to build a culture of silence and complicity around workplace harassment. we must make a judgment about how that was used. this bill, the me too congress act, will reform the policy that has persisted t will ensure that
survivors who wish to share their stories publicly can come forward and they can come forward to the ethics committee. we want to create a culture that says to everyone who comes to work here, this will be hospitable for you. we want it to be a culture that is a model to the nation. in addition to that, mr. speaker, this moment is a moment of truth for the congress. it is disappointing and disturbing that some in the capitol have not served with the dignity and respect required of this office. it is very hard to accept that people we admire in public life and here in congress have crossed the line and broken the public trust and violated the dignity and respect of those who have worked for or with them. but zero tolerance means consequences for everyone. no matter your contribution to our country, do you not get a pass to harass or discriminate.
no matter how great the legacy, it is not a license to harass or abuse. to the victims of harassment abuse, we hear you, we believe you, we're here for you. where there is harassment, women and men must have support to come forward. we have a duty, again, to address their concerns and provide them needed resources. we don't want to lose the leadership or service of any patriot who comes to work in or around the congress. we can't let harassment or discrimination destroy their safety or drive them out of public office. we cannot tell young women or men who aspire to serve in this historic body that they must put up with harassment and abuse. so, mr. speaker, i want to just close by again thanking congresswoman jackie speier for her leadership. ank you, mr. chairman, mr.
brady, all who are concerned with it. it is utterly unconscionable that courageous survivors who seek to end the nightmare of sexual harassment are also dealt the injustice of having their voices silent. during this water shed moment, we must seize the moment and take real lasting action. the eyes of the country are on us. we cannot fail them or any prospective victims. i thank all of those who have brought this to the floor. congresswoman comstock, mr. harper, mr. brady, congresswoman speier. i urge a strong unanimous vote on this resolution. yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the yeal yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis, the vice chairman of the committee on house administration.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairman harper. today i rise in support of this bill. this resolution requiring all members and staff to complete anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training during each session of congress. i'd like to thank chairman harper. i'd like to thank speaker ryan for announcing this policy change in the house. and i'd like to thank my friend and colleague on the house administration committee, barbara comstock, for introducing this important bill. no one should have to worry about sexual harassment when they come to work. as a former staffer and someone with a female-led office, i believe this resolution is an important first step in addressing this problem as we work to increase professionalism in the house and establish a workplace that is grounded in respect. in congress, we've got to lead by example. as a member of the house administration committee, we worked hard to pass reforms last congress to make house office spending more transparent and accountable than any other area of the federal government.
and i am confident in this committee's ability to address in a bipartisan way this important issue as well. i look forward to the continued the committee will have on the committee will have on this issue as we work to institute policies that protect staffers against sexual harassment and ensure female staffers are provided leadership opportunities. i urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this resolution. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman raskin.yland, mr. mr. raskin: i thank the member for yielding and his leadership. and salute ms. speier and mr. hearp for their work. i rise in strong support of h.r. 630, which requires all members, staffers, and interns to undergo annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training to of us our all
individual all of our hill offices and also in our district offices setting forth what the rights and protections are of our employees so they know this is how we got rid of minimum wage violations, violations of overtime protections in america. and this is how we will eliminate sexual harassment here on capitol hill. from coast to coast, america is in an uproar over sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. from capitol hill to the white house, from the offices of fox news in new york to the studios of hollywood, from washington, to alabama, high officials and media luminaries are learning that sexual harassment really is against the law and it is a terrible offense against people lower down the hierarchy in the workplace who are just trying to do their jobs and make a living and support their families and develop their careers. this is america and they have a right to equal opportunity without being harassed, grabbed, imposed upon, and threatened in the workplace.
it is the people's representatives we have an obligation to lead not just by legislation but by example. must have comprehensive training for everyone who has the honor of coming to work here in the house of representatives. the good news is that a paradigm shift is taking place in training for everyone who has america. women everywhere are bravely speaking out against conduct that prior generations were forced to accept as business as usual. it will no longer be safe and it should no longer be safe for men to sexually harass women in the workplace. experienced dramatic cultural shifts like this before in america and in congress. for many decades members of congress could convert money from their personal -- from their campaign funds to personal use. then we got rid of it. then it became unthinkable. similarly there was a time when lobbyists could wine and dine legislators, we got rid of it. i'm glad we're moving in the area of harassment free workplace on capitol hill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from pennsylvania
reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from indiana, mrs. brooks. she is the distinguished chair of the committee on ethics. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today in strong support of resolution 630, introduced by my colleague, barbara comstock, which mandates anti-harassment and anti-discrimination education for all members of congress and their staff during each session of congress. i commend my colleagues, representative comstock and representative speier, who have worked on this bipartisan resolution together. both know this issue too well from the member and the staff level. both have seen firsthand how our current process has failed to protect many who devote their lives working on behalf of the american people in the house of representatives. the resolution they have introduced is an important and appropriate first step to educate members and staff on
inappropriate workplace actions and on how to report such conduct. it is absolutely unacceptable to be subjected to harassment or discrimination of any kind wherever you are or wherever you work. importantly, this resolution requires all who work for the house of representatives from members of congress to staff, detailees, fellows, interns, whether paid or unpaid, to be educated on their rights in the workplace and where they can safely and confidentially go to report instances of misconduct. as chair of the house ethics committee, i can assure you the committee takes allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously. under house rule 10, the house ethics committee is authorized to enforce standards of conduct for members, officers, and employees. the committee is authorized to investigate alleged violations of any law, rule, or regulation, and to make recommendations to the house for further action. the committee has sole
jurisdiction over the interpretation of our code of official conduct. in order for the ethics committee to fulfill its obligation to investigate and potentially discipline members or staff, the committee must be given information on potential bad actors. the congressional accountability act was enacted over 20 years ago in 1995 and it needs to be re-evaluated. it established the office of compliance as the agency responsible to administer and enforce the civil rights, labor, and workplace safety and health laws of the c.a.a. there may be elements that are working well today, but silencing victims and spending taxpayer dollars to settle claims needs to be re-evaluated. it's time for congress to take action to reform a process that not working as well as it should. and to ensure we have legislation that protects victims while also ensuring due process for the accused. while there is much more working to done, i applaud the action m should. and to ensure we have
legislation that protects victims while colleagues have taken by introducing this important education resolution. i'm committed to continuing to work with members of the house administration committee, as well as my colleagues in the house, to improve the workplace called the people's house. and the conduct of those who work in it. in supporting this resolution today, i believe we're one step closer to expressing to the nation the sexual harassment is wrong and must be prevented and stopped. and i urge unanimous vote by my colleagues in the house. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: spree, i yield four minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. speier, and again i thank her for her courage. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for four minutes. ms. speier: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank our ranking member, mr. brady, for his steadfast support on this issue and to the chairman, mr. harper, who has moved swiftly to address this issue, and also to my colleague, congresswoman comstock, for bringing this resolution to the floor. .
mr. chairman and speaker, i have been working on this issue since 2014. i am so delighted that we are here today taking up this measure. as we take it up, i hope that we remember that training must be more than an online module. it must be in person, interactive and specific to congressional workplace issues, and it must be taken seriously. today's bill is an important step in the right direction, but let's not fool ourselves. it is a baby step. let us not, to paraphrase shakespeare, thread the primrose path while leaving survivors to struggle, the steep and thorny way to justice. we are in the midst of a culture revolution. we are elected representatives of the american people, and we must not hesitate to do what is needed to fix this broken system. 70% of those who are sexually
harassed never report it. never report it. one woman came up to me as i was walking here the halls of congress to thank me, and she said that she was on this very floor, on this very floor working later in the evening on a particular bill, a member came up behind her, grinded up against her, and then stuck his tongue in her ear. that happened on the floor with members probably standing around. so we do have a problem, members, and we must address it. unfortunately, due to the system, congress has created to protect itself from being exposed. there's been no accountability. it's now clear that this misguided attempt to protect the institution is instead harming it and leaving victims in its wake. we work in a very special place, a trusted place, but let
me be very clear. we are not special. the outcry for accountability that we are hearing from all corners of the country must be heeded. we are seeing tightens of entertainment, news and every other business be swiftly terminated, yet here in congress we hide behind due process nicities when we have constructed a system that has shielded us from true accountable. did harvey weinstein or matt lauer receive months of due process before being terminated? when do we provide the victims a safe process to report and get justice? is one occurrence worthy of explullings? is it two or is it three? these are issues. we don't like to come down on our friends and colleagues, i get that, but don't we have a moral responsibility to victims, to society at large? when a c.e.o. of a major company is fired because of
sexual harassment, the board of directors doesn't say, let's wait until the shareholders can meet and decide. well, colleagues, our board of directors are the american people, and they are loud and clear. they do not want us to hind behind opaque decisions by the house administration or ethics committees. they don't want to pay for our inability to keep our hands to ourselves. they want accountability and transparency and they want it now. colleagues, i urge your support for this bill, but i also call on you to join me in taking congress from a cruel and disgusting joke to a leader in workplace fairness. i know we can do better than this. the american people know we can do better than this, and we must rise to the challenge. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from maine, mr. poliquin, a distinguished member of the committee on financial services. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine is recognized for two minutes.
mr. poliquin: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you very much, mr. harper, for this opportunity to speak on this very important issue. and i want to congratulate jackie speier, a democrat from california, barbara comstock, a republican from virginia, to provide leadership on this issue, and i'm delighted to join them. there can be absolutely, mr. speaker, absolutely zero tolerance for sexual harassment, for bullying, for intimidation in the workplace. i don't care if you're a professional athlete or if you're in the media business or the entertainment business or certainly in the people's house here in congress, there can be zero tolerance for this sort of behavior. you know, it's about time, mr. speaker, that the legislative branch joins the executive branch in making sure there is mandatory training to try to prevent this from happening and end it right now.
so i salute congresswoman speier and congresswoman comstock for their leadership. you know, mr. speaker, i have a millennial as a child, my only child. the last thing i want to worry about is my son going to work and being intimidated or harassed such that he can't do his work. my mother, who's now 89, had a terrific career in the health care business. she was a nurse. she could not have had a career in nursing had she showed up at hospitals and nursing homes being scared about a work environment. finding and preventing sexual harassment wherever it is, intimidation, bullying, this is a no-brainer for members of congress, and i'm asking, mr. speaker, mr. harper, i'm asking everybody in this chamber, whether you're republican or democrat, and yes, on the other side of the dome in the senate, also, to please, let's pass this resolution, starting in
the house. it's a first step to change the internal rules to eliminate this anywhere on capitol hill. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back my time. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. crowley. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is ecognized for two minutes. mr. crowley: mr. chairman, i rise in support of this resolution. i'm grateful to the women, all the women who have come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. to my own colleagues in congress who have shared their own very, very personal stories. thanks to their courage and strength. it's become clear how pervasive this problem truly is across our nation. that must stop shall and today starts the beginning of much-needed change. sexual harassment and assault comes in many forms, and none of it has a place here in congress or in any other work
environment. period. stop. that's especially true here in the halls of congress. we must not set the gold standard. we must set the platinum standard. we must be that beacon on the hill. that is why we must pass this resolution. it is an important first step in our national conversation to change our culture of harassment. but this is not and cannot be the last stop. we must reform the entire reporting system here in congress. we must make sure victims are heard and they are cared for and we must shine a light on the settlement process. and then we must work to ensure that from congress to hollywood to media and to every kitchen table across our great nation, men and women, that they know that when they go to work they
will be treated with respect, especially here in the halls of congress. it will take time and commitment to make that meaningful change, and i stand ready to help fulfill that commitment with this important yet vital first step. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentlelady from virginia, mrs. comstock, who is also a distinguished member of the committee on house administration. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from virginia is recognized for four minutes. mrs. comstock: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, mr. chairman, for your leadership on this important issue. i rise in support of h.r. 630, my legislation to deal with -- to begin to deal with the sexual harassment issue. 30 years ago in 1988, a 34-year-old legislative aide named dorina faced a very lonely fight when she decided
to stand up to a powerful congressman, jim bates of california, who repeatedly sexually harassed her and others in his office with questions, comments and actions. such as asking her what type of sex she liked, saying different things that he would imagine. he talked about her breasts. he humped her leg in front of the staff and said vulgar things that are really too unpleasant to talk about in this body. she didn't get a lot of press attention or some of the support that victims get today. she got little support from this body. she went on her journey alone. she received nasty phone calls and even threats. she was warned they would release damaging information about her, but fortunately she prevailed and men and women in the workplace should know her name and know she was the first woman to win a sexual harassment case against a member of congress. and when we see these headlines and men leaving their jobs,
behind all of them are women or other victims such as dorina and there is a lot of pain in such a situation. speaking with her recently, i could hear that pain even 30 years later. as a mom, former intern here in this body, former congressional staffer and counsel and a justice department employee, i do believe this is a watershed moment. i have a female chief of staff. i have a female district director, but we also need to have men and women involved in this process, and i am so happy with the men who are coming forward, because this is a workplace issue, it's a human rights issue, it's an issue that involves all of us, our sons and daughters. when i was working for congressman wolf, there were members like goodtime charlie wilson, hardy, har, ha . famously saying, you can teach
them to type but you can't teach them to grow breasts. he used a more vulgar term. at the same time senator bob packwood, this is a bipartisan problem, assaulted over a dozen women and kept a diary of his debotchry. that had been ignored for years. it wasn't acceptable then and it certainly should be now. yet, we have stories of members still in this body today that my colleague, ms. speier, and other victims are bringing forward. i told one such story and i am pleased again that members have responded to that, say there's no place for that type of sexual action in this body. this legislation promotes the essential principles of accountability and personal responsibility. it is bipartisan legislation because bad behavior transcends party labels. men and women and all of us are coming together and you are seeing this beyond this body, obviously, in the corporate world just today. this resolution sends the
message, as peggy noonan wrote in the wall street journal, the sexual harassment racket is over. i'd like to insert her op-ed from this past week for the record. she noted the patterns of the various predators of late and how their victims were now coming forward. these are the same kind of victims we often see in human trafficking or child abuse. she writes, quote, once predators who are almost always repeat offenders, understood the new way of reporting such stories, they understood something else. they weren't going to get away with it anymore. they'd never known that, and they were going to pay a price probably in their careers. they'd never known that either. sexual predators -- and we need to understand the predator behavior -- has no place in this body. so today's education efforts is just the first step. in the weeks going forward, we -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. mrs. comstock: revise our process -- mr. harper: i yield another 30 seconds to the gentlelady from
virginia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. comstock: we must make it easier for women to come forward, provide them an advocate or counsel, as dorina recommended. we need to have a prohibition on any kind of member-staff relationship with subordinate. no taxpayer settlement, and transparency and accountability about who are the harassers. i'd like to insert in the record the many businesses and groups from the nfib to the chamber, who are supporting this legislation today, and i thank the business community for their support also. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from mississippi continues to reserve. and the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'd like to yield two minutes to one of our valued members of our committee, the lady from california, ms. lofgren. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for two minutes. ms. lofgren: thank you, mr. speaker. for we women who've been victims of assault or harassment, this is a very serious, serious matter.
i intend to vote for this bill but as has t -- been mentioned, it's the first step. we know on the house administration committee that we are going to have to dig in and make sure that the training that's referred to in this bill is a lot better than what we have right now. it's deficient. i'd like to say, also, that the process that we have of -- for victims to come forward is an embarrassment. needs to be refined and reviewed, fixed from the point of view of the victim. . we here in america every day open our news feeds and see someone else who has been fired because of engaging in sexual harassment misconduct. it's part of really a component
of devaling women. that's what this is about. -- devalueuing women. that's what this is about. i heard my colleague from the house administration committee mention the columnist who said that the sexual harassment racket is over. i'm afraid it isn't. not yet. but it's our obligation to make sure that it does end. we are the house of representatives. it should be expected of us that we take the lead, that we set the standard for how women can e valued in the workplace. i think this first step is valuable but if we had to walk a mile, this is a foot. so i'm happy to support this measure, but i'm looking forward to working with mr. brady, who has been such a leader in the committee. we've had a bipartisan effort, with the chairman of the
committee. we've got a lot of work to do and look forward to doing it. i yield back with thanks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. >> may i inquire the time remaining in debate? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi has five minutes remaining. the gentleman from pennsylvania has eight minutes. >> mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. lance. he's a distinguished member of the committee on energy and commerce. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. lance: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, chairman harper. i rise as well as a member of the house ethics committee and assure the public that the house ethics committee takes these matters very seriously. i rise in strong support of house resolution 630. and i hope that it passes unanimously today. i commend barbara comstock and jackie speier for their tremendous work in this area. congress should be leading on this issue, helping to forest ar workplace environment free of --
foster a workplace environment free of sexual harassment, discrimination and other terrible behavior. congress must ensure an atmosphere where those who serve their country here feel protected, supported and believed. particularly young people who come here with such idealism. no matter the power of the offender. i take these matters seriously, as should every member of congress. the reports that taxpayer funds have been used forsettlements related to harassment by members of congress are rightfully infuriating to the american people and to me personally. we need transparency and accountability and end to any sexual harassment settlements paid by taxpayers. today's action ensures that thousands of house employees know their rights and the services offered to victims. i strongly urge a yes vote. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i now yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from washington, d.c., ms. norton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for two minutes.
ms. norton: mr. speaker, i want to thank the chair and the ranking member of the committee for bringing this bill forward at a time of national crisis in the workplace on sexual harassment. when i chaired the equal employment opportunity commission, which was 15 years after the statute had been passed, sexual harassment had not even been defined as a form of workplace discrimination. we held hearings and so defined it and the supreme court thereafter affirmed our findings. congress, nevertheless, exempted itself until 30 years later when in 1995, prompted by a controversy involving members of the congress, in fact brought
congress under 13 major civil rights and labor laws. but mysteriously, and i cants understand why congress tempted it -- can't understand why congress exempted itself from the easiest provision. the provision we bring forward today for posting and training. i'll never understand that. but we're trying to move forward today other provisions. and i have introduced a bill to bring the comprehensive provisions that we now require of the legislative branch, of the private branch forward. and i thank the committee on administration for continuing to work on this. congress failed in 1964. it failed again in 1995. now in 2017 it is just mpossible to justify exempting congressional offices and members of congress from the comprehensive provisions congress now requires of private
employers and federal agencies. we will never be understood until we are brought under the same laws as everybody else. congressional staff deserve the same civil and anti-discrimination protections afforded to other federal employees. it is important that powerful figures who play an outsized role here in congress be brought to the same level as other employers. and i thank my friends for yielding. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. costello, a distinguished member of the committee on energy and commerce. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. costello: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of house resolution 630, resolution i helped introduce that would require sexual harassment training and anti-discrimination training for members of congress, staff and interns. the requirements in this
resolution are long overdue, mr. speaker. this is an issue which the federal government must be a leader on. under this legislation, training must be completed within a certain time frame and employees must provide proof they have completed the training to the committee on house administration. it's very important that we take serious steps to address harassment in congress. i've been proud to work with congresswoman speier and i applaud congresswoman comstock on her leadership, along with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to make sure we have a productive, safe and professional work environment here in congress. this resolution is part of that solution and i will continue working and pressing for additional reforms. i urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlewoman from michigan, mrs. lawrence. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. lawrence: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of this resolution that requires every
house member employee to complete anti-haurment and anti-discrimination train -- anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. the first commonsense is to make this training mandatory. i introduced a bill a month ago, gathered over 100 co-sponsors, democrats and republicans, to make sexual harassment training mandatory. i'm glad the senate has required training with this resolution, and now the mouse must do the same -- the house must do the same. when women are at the table, mr. chairman, i am glad to say the conversation changes and the voices in congress of women have changed the conversation here. it is important that we must do all that we can to improve the congressional work force, reform our outdated processes, and i support this legislation to address this issue. and i know that my members of congress will do the same today. thank you.
and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from indiana, mr. messer, chair of the house republican policy committee, and distinguished member of the committee on education and work force. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. messer: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman for his work. hoosiers get it. the recent reports of sexual assault and harassment in congress are reprehensible. i applaud representative comstock for her hard work on this resolution. the house resolution today is an important step in the right direction. it mandates that everyone working in congress has the proper anti-harassment training. but we must do more. the a.p. recently reported that the federal government has spent $17 million in taxpayer money settling harassment claims and other violations. it's astounding that tax dollars
have been spent to protect members of congress and silence victims. it's not ok. that's why i'm filing legislation to stop taxpayer dollars from being used in this way, to settle sexual harassment claims against members of congress. and this legislation will empower victims by releasing them from nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from coming forward and telling their story. let's pass today's resolution and keep working to do more. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlewoman from new hampshire, ms. kuster. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new hampshire is recognized for one minute. ms. kuster: thank you, congressman brady, and to the chair. and i want to thank especially congresswoman speier and comstock for their good work on this issue. almost 40 years ago i worked here in the united states congress as a member of the staff. i was 23 years old.
and i was sexual assaulted by a distinguished guest of the united states congress. neither i for this anyone in my office had received any type of -- neither i nor anyone in my office had received any type of sexual harassment training. i had no place to turn, i had no one to tell and i could do nothing about it. but today is a historic day. this is a water shed moment -- watershed moment. times have changed and people do make changes and this is one that we are all standing together, republicans, democrats, men, women, across the board to say, enough is enough. i support this bill as an important first step so that every member of congress and every member of the staff on capitol hill understand that we are drawing the line. we have had enough. we need to address sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, college campuses and
our military and communities. but the halls of congress can be no exception. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from new york, mr. reid, a distinguished member of the committee on ways and means. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. mr. reed: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, i rise today and join my colleagues in a republican-democratic, men and women standing together here on the floor of the house to join in the recognition that when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault across america, we say no more. we say, enough is enough. and, yes, this is a step, a small step in the right direction. but it is a legitimate step for us to reflect those that we represent across america and saying to the issue that has impacted all of us, my family included. when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault, we stand together as americans
and in this body declare that no more shall sexual harassment and sexual assault be allowed to exist in our society. i applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for doing this and the leadership they have demonstrated on this issue. once and for all. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlewoman from florida, ms. frankel. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida is recognized for one minute. ms. frankel: thank you, mr. speaker. first i want to machado -- first, i want to thank my colleagues and all those me too survivers who have bravely come forward to tell -- survivors who have bravely come forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment. imagine you're a young congressional staffer who eagerly comes to washington to make the world a better place for -- and work for someone you actually believe in. instead your boss breaks your trust with unwanted sexual advances, groping, abusive language or worse. and you feel absolutely
devastated and powerless. here's the thing. the united states congress has made sexual harassment in the workplace illegal. yet this behavior has sullied our own halls. and quite frankly i think it's pitiful and embarrassing that we even have to have this discussion. but with that said, today's resolution to require mandatory anti-harassment training is obviously a good step and necessary and there is more work to be done, as my colleagues have said. there must be respect and safety in all our workplaces. in congress and across america. i urge all my colleagues to support this good resolution and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers. i need to inquire if my colleague, the ranking member, is prepared to close. mr. brady: i have one additional
speaker. mr. harper: ok. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york is recognized for one minute. mrs. maloney: i thank ranking member brady for his leadership and chairman harper for moving so swiftly on this issue. and my colleague, jackie speier, who has selflessly worked on this issue for many years, along with barbara comstock. i rise in strong support of this bill. too often harassment was treated just like it's part of the job. and if anyone complained, they were fired or punished or paid off to be silent. so this is an important cultural change where harassment, which is illegal, is treated seriously
.s a crime that needs to stop to train staff and members and officers on how to know what is right and what is wrong so that there is no misunderstanding. but this is the first step. i strongly support congresswoman speier's bill that has a comprehensive approach, which bans the use of taxpayer money to silence victims and to settle this. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from mississippi reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, make no mistake about it, this is bullying. sexual bullying, harassment.
i have a wife a daughter, a granddaughter a great granddaughter. i have a responsibility to protect them. in the people's house we have people's wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters and we have a responsibility to protech them. men have a responsibility to stand up and confront this behavior, wheff a -- we have a responsibility to confront bullies. men who use their power to harass and abuse others are disgraceful and we cannot tolerate their behavior and we need to stop having a system that enables it. i personally witnessed an incident back in the corner there of a congress lady leaning back talking to me and a congressman walked by and groped her from behind. i reached over and lucky for him i couldn't grab him. i wanted to chase him down the aisle but the congress lady said, no, don't do it, we'll
take care of him he got taken care of pretty well. i wonder if women would be sexually bullied if their husbands or fathers were standing next to them if somebody tried to sexually harass or grope them. that's why i said men who do that are bullies and cowards. treat women with respect and dignity you would your own mother. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time and i ask for unanimous con -- a unanimous vote on this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. harper: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr.harper: mr. speaker, this house, this special place, should not be tarnished any longer by the inexcusable behavior of some of our members. the standard needs to be high. i want to give a special thank you to our speaker, paul ryan, and his commitment that he has
that we get this right. i want to thank the ranking member, mr. brady, for the way that we have been able to work together on this and certainly representatives speer and comstock have been invaluable in this process as we go forward. we've heard from so many members today on the importance of this and this is a resolution that is necessary, and it's a product of the strong bipartisan cooperation. this is something that's just the beginning, as has been said today. we had a hearing on november 14, we'll have another hearing on the congressional accountability act on december 7. but to have this resolution to make sure our members and staff are educated to know their rights and responsibilities is a critical first step and i urge the adoption of voted to beginas
debate on the republican tax bill. they are now on the floor debate which is limited to 20 hours and and with final passage on thursday. watch coverage on c-span two. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with policy issues that impact do. thursday morning, your reaction on top issues making headlines, the gop tax bill and sexual harassment. with your all morning phone calls, facebook messages, and tweets. watch at 7:00 a.m. thursday morning. the c-span bus is on the 50 capitals tour, visiting each state capital and hearing their priorities. --take -- we kicked off on
we kicked off in dover, delaware. next, we will be in tallahassee, florida. >> sunday, live on in cap, cornell west and robert george will be our guests. years.o back third teen we revel in each other's humanity. we share our found a mental commitment to the life of the mind and lecture around the country. when i see him, i don't see him as a conservative thinker, catholic philosopher, one of the major political figures of the day. i sit here with my brother, my friend, someone who has a right to be wrong.
[laughter] >> if you are going to work together in conversation, even truth, theet at the people involved in the conversation have to recognize that they are fallible, frail, fallen human beings. they have to recognize that they can be wrong. even about my most cherished beliefs, i could be wrong. one has thatt attitude and understanding, not in a merely notional way, but in way, thenppropriate we have a virtue that is indispensable for truth seeking.