Congress Must be Held to the Highest Standards; Amendment Providing Sexual Harassment Awareness Training Passes
WASHINGTON – Today, Committee on House Administration Chairman Candice Miller R-Mich. made the following comments on the House Floor in support of an amendment to provide additional funds to the Congressional Office of Compliance for the purpose of conducting awareness training on individual rights and protecting against sexual harassment. This amendment, introduced by Representative Jackie Speier (CA-14), was approved by voice vote and included in the overall Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4487).
“Madame Speaker, I rise to support this amendment, which provides additional funds to the Congressional Office of Compliance. This is the agency that is tasked with making sure that Members of Congress and, very importantly, their staff are aware of what their individual rights are and how to protect themselves against sexual harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like the Members are protected but perhaps their staffs are not are as aware or protected as they need to be. This is not a partisan issue; we have seen incidents over the years of both sides of the aisles here. This week, I had met with the senior staff of the Congressional Office of Compliance and their board of directors, and we discussed what type of training might be helpful for when we put together our new member orientation program in the fall, and various kinds of things they can do. And of course they need a bit more cash to be able to really step-up, particularly with the internet and various things they can do with awareness training. That is why this amendment is very important.
“Congress needs to be held to the highest standards, and at a minimum, we need to be held to the same standards that we hold private business out in the marketplace regarding the workplace. Every employee needs to work in an environment that they feel is free from sexual harassment. And if they feel threatened in any way, they need to be able to be sure that they understand their rights and what recourse they have to protect themselves, without fear of retribution. Congress needs to be a leader on this issue, I really feel that by conducting awareness training will help stop any unfortunate situation, and if not stop it, then allow the individual to protect themselves. That is an important thing for all of us. I urge support for this amendment.”