Bipartisan Members of Congress Introduce the ME TOO Congress Act
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) today joined Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to introduce the Member and Employee Training and Oversight On (ME TOO) Congress Act. The legislation is an important part of ensuring Congress has a well-defined standard for addressing sexual harassment.
The ME TOO Congress Act would bring clarity to the reporting and investigative processes, extend protections to interns and fellows, provide protections for whistleblowers in Congress that are similar to those offered to whistleblowers in the Executive Branch, and require sexual harassment training for Congressional offices, which includes both Members and staff. In addition, the legislation calls for regular surveys of Members of Congress and staff to understand the extent of sexual harassment in Congress. Responses to surveys are both anonymous and confidential.
“While many, if not most Congressional offices, mine included, have policies in place regarding sexual harassment, this legislation will require annual sexual harassment training, and bring greater transparency and accountability to procedures for filing and investigating a complaint,” said Rep. Costello. “It is very unfortunate that it’s taken this long to shine a light on just how opaque, how confusing it is to go about accessing the right set of tools in order to file a complaint. The federal government should be a leader on this. This bill is long overdue. It’s an important step in supporting a professional, safe, responsible work environment, and I hope to see it signed into law.”
“In 1995, Congress created the Office of Congressional Compliance to protect itself from being exposed, and it has been remarkably successful. Twenty years later, 260 settlements and more than $15 million have permanently silenced victims of all types of workplace discrimination,” said Rep. Speier. “Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability. Today, I am proud that my colleagues in the House and the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, are joining me to end the era of impunity for disgraceful behavior and to protect the survivors.”