Senate's sexual harassment reform bill hits resistance in House

By Susan McFarland  |  May 25, 2018 at 2:52 PM
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May 25 (UPI) -- House lawmakers expressed concern Friday about the Senate's version of a reform bill that would change how Congress handles sexual harassment complaints.

Critics of the bill, introduced Wednesday by Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., say it doesn't do enough to support victims.

The bill was approved Thursday in the Senate, but House leaders said they aren't ready to adopt the bill as written.

Civil rights groups say the proposal only promises limited accountability for congressional offenders.

Gregg Harper, R-Miss., House administration committee chairman, said the bill is being reviewed with proposed reforms.

The bill as written by the Senate would eliminate 30-day periods for counseling, mediation and "cooling off," which are all required for victims of sexual harassment under the Congressional Accountability Act.

Claimants would have 180 days under the law to file a complaint with the Office of Compliance, which would be renamed the Office of Workplace Rights.

The House can either pass the Senate's bill or the two chambers enter into a conference committee, which is needed for the House to make any changes.

If the bill is amended, it would need to be passed again by the House and Senate.

"I look forward to going to conference because it appears to shift the power back to the institution instead of the victims," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said in a statement.

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