Female Democratic Senators harassment discriminaiton house congress

Are These Male Senators Just Hoping We’ll All Forget About That Sexual Harassment Bill They’ve Been Ignoring?

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100 Days ago, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would reform the ways in which sexual harassment and discrimination claims are handled on Capitol Hill. As it stands, that process is super gross and serves to benefityou guessed itnot the people subjected to harassment or discrimination. The current Congressional Accountability Act was established in 1995, and requires accusers to attend counseling and mediation, as well as sit through a month-long “cooling off period” before they can even file an official complaint against a colleague. Like I said, gross.

The new bill would change all of that, as well as prohibit representatives from using taxpayer money to settle their sexual harassment and discrimination cases, a thing that is done far more often than most of us ever knew. It would also require all congressional staffers and representatives to undergo discrimination and harassment awareness and prevention training.

After being passed in the House, the bill moved onto the Senate. And it’s sat there for 100 days, without mention, without a vote, without anything at all. Last month, all 22 female senators signed a letter addressed to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as well as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, demanding to know what the hell is taking so long.

At the time, The Atlantic reported that Mitch McConnell’s office sent “a variation on a statement they’d released before,” which read, “As you are aware, Leader McConnell supports members being personally, financially liable for sexual misconduct in which they have engaged. There is a bipartisan group that is continuing to work on legislation. I don’t yet have a prediction on when that will be completed.” The Atlantic notes, “this does not address matters of discrimination, as opposed to ‘sexual misconduct.'”

Schumer responded, “We strongly agree that the Senate should quickly take up legislation to combat sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.” Which is great, but actions and actual votes would be way greater.

So here we are, 100 days later, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would like to know WTF is going on.

100 days is too long for this bill to go unaddressed. I don’t have an answer for you as to what’s taking so long. Maybe your senator does. Maybe you’d like to contact them and let us know what they say in the comments section below.

(via The Slot, image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.