Provided by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Office
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) joined a bipartisan group of Members and cosponsored the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act (CAA Reform Act). Led by Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper (MS-3), the CAA Reform Act is also co-sponsored by Committee Ranking Member Robert Brady (PA-1), and the Members of the Committee on House Administration, Representatives Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mark Walker (NC-6), Adrian Smith (NE-3), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), and Jamie Raskin (MD-8). In addition, the bill is cosponsored by Representatives Bradley Byrne (AL-1), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Susan Brooks (IN-5), and Ted Deutch (FL-22).
“No one should be subject to sexual harassment in the workplace. The painful stories of harassment we have all heard in the past several months from the media, Hollywood, business, and in Congress, made clear that we needed to both increase our education and training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as reform the process for reporting and resolving sexual harassment claims. In November, the House passed my resolution, now we are moving forward with the reforms.
“This is landmark legislation that fundamentally reforms how victims of sexual harassment or discrimination will be treated in the Congressional workplace and makes clear we are committed on a bipartisan basis to zero tolerance for sexual harassment. This legislation provides immediate access for a victim to a dedicated advocate who will provide legal consultation, representation, and assistance in proceedings before the Office of Compliance and Committee on Ethics, and streamlines the reporting and resolution process. It forbids taxpayer money from being used in settlements, holds Members personally responsible, and requires full disclosure of any settlements with Members. The legislation also includes provisions that make clear any sexual relationships of a Member or Staff with subordinates are inappropriate.
“I have the commitment by the Chairman of House Administration to continue to work on how we can work with past victims who feel they were parties to an agreement which may be unenforceable. I hope we can address and resolve that by the time of the markup of this bill.
“I also still believe that we need to disclose all of the names of past Members of Congress who have made settlements for sexual harassment as well as reimburse taxpayers for those costs. I appreciate that some of my colleagues have legal concerns about disclosure of past settlements, but I believe it is in the public interest to have full transparency not only for future settlements but for past wrongdoing of Members of Congress. That is why I have joined nearly 100 of my colleagues in cosponsoring legislation by Congressman DeSantis (R-FL) to disclose past settlements.”