Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday, leveling accusations of sexual harassment against a current, unnamed congressman.
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Two female lawmakers accused sitting members of Congress of sexual harassment but did not divulge their identities, at a House hearing Tuesday.
“This is about a member who is here now; I don’t know who it is. But somebody who I trust told me the situation,” said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., a member of the House Administration Committee, which is conducting a review of existing policies to prevent and report sexual harassment.
According to Comstock: The male lawmaker asked a young female staffer to bring some paperwork to him at home; he answered the door in nothing but a towel.
“At that point, he decided to expose himself,” Comstock said. “She left. And then she quit her job.”
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., divulged that she is also aware of harassing behavior by some of her colleagues.
“In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have not been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment,” she said without identifying the lawmakers.
There was broad agreement at Tuesday’s hearing that the House needs to make some changes, starting with mandatory sexual harassment training.
Currently, the training is optional.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement later Tuesday that the House will move toward adopting mandatory training for harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” Ryan said.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., was an employment attorney before he entered Congress. He testified at the hearing and urged a series of additional reforms, including a universal harassment policy.
Currently, each of the 435 member offices is considered an independent hiring authority and can set its own terms for training policies.