House passes funding for expanded sexual harassment training
May 1st, 2014
12:32 PM ET
3 months ago

House passes funding for expanded sexual harassment training

Washington (CNN) – The House passed legislation Thursday in a 402-14 vote that will provide funds for expanded sexual harassment training for all members and their staff.

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California introduced the measure as an amendment to the legislative branch spending bill. The legislation allocates $500,000 from that bill to pay for the effort, and Speier ultimately wants the training to become mandatory.

"The American people expect us to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting the responsibilities and duties that we hold as members of Congress–not like we are freshman at a frat house," Speier said Thursday morning on the House floor.

The move comes after Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Louisiana, announced this week he will not seek re-election this fall after the married lawmaker was caught on camera kissing a staff member in his office.

Speier's office, however, said the measure was not prompted by the incident involving McAllister.

While the congressman's name was never mentioned in the debate, Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, said embarrassing "recent events" have brought renewed attention to the issue of sexual harassment.

"We cannot allow 'Mad Men' style antics to occur in our offices," Lowey said, referring to the popular AMC television series.

For her part, Speier alluded to past incidents in Congress and noted other public scandals involving sexual harassment, such as teenage pages being sexted on the House floor and staff members being "groped" and "inappropriately touched."

She also brought up former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who stepped down from his mayoral office last year after facing several allegations of sexual harassment. The Democrat was a member of the House for nearly two decades prior to becoming mayor in 2012.

Speier has also been actively involved in legislation aimed to stop military sexual misconduct.

"It's just as important that we bring the same scrutiny to our own House," she said.

Reports of military sex assault up sharply, officials say

Sexual harassment training is already mandatory in the Executive Branch, she added, but training for Congress is only voluntary. The Congressional Office of Compliance provides the training, though it's not typically requested until after an incident is reported, she said.

Speier added she and her staff have taken the 90 minute training, and "as much as I know about sexual harassment, I learned additional things during that training."

The $500,000 would be used to implement a web-based training program, as well as educational outreach to inform staff members of their rights, she said.

The proposal was met with no opposition on the House floor, and the amendment was added to the bill.

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Michigan, said "this is certainly not a partisan issue."

"We have seen incidents over the years of Republicans and Democrats – both sides of the aisle here," she continued.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, thanked Speier for introducing the amendment and said it was something Republicans are "more than happy to accept."


Filed under: Congress • House
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    I'm back – and as I notice the bloggers here that were around when I was actively involved in CNN Blogs, it's going to be fun. I am the Political Poet – and those of you who know me, knows it!! That's all folks for now; as for this Ticker, No Comment!

    May 1, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Adults should not need to be taught showing respect for others. My father taught me that if he ever caught me showing a woman less respect than what I show God, then I would soon meet my maker. What about sensitivity training on other issues, such as race?

    May 1, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. scitt

    Really, I think it is sad that the people we elect need $500,000 worth of common sense training. If you don't know the proper way to act in public, you need to step down.

    May 1, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. smith

    @Rudy-Who is being insensitive to race right now in congress?

    May 1, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Welcome back T'sah from Virginia!!!!!

    May 1, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    --do they give home work too? Nonsense.

    May 1, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    14 of these meatheads voted against it? LOL. Anyone care to place bets on how many of those 14 get caught in something related to this issue at some point?

    May 1, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is hilarious to watch the GOP do damage control before the November elections.
    Getting rid of the nasty aftertaste that they've left in our mouths is going to take a little more than $500k worth of sensitivity training though...
    Keep spinning.

    May 1, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The move comes after Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Louisiana, announced this week he will not seek re-election this fall after the married lawmaker was caught on camera kissing a staff member in his office."

    Oh. Well ... what can I say? Good to see GOPerville embrace ... well, um ... kissing staff as a no-no.

    [ Throwing my hands up in the air ]

    May 1, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rep. Candice Miller, R-Michigan, said "this is certainly not a partisan issue."

    "We have seen incidents over the years of Republicans and Democrats – both sides of the aisle here," she continued.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Incomplete sentences and all we know what she meant.
    The thing is that we can count in one hand such "incidents" of R's and D's working together in a bi-partisan manner over any number of issues these past 6 years.
    In one hand...maybe two.
    I for one am not impressed, nor does it do anything whatsoever to change my mind.....or my vote this November.
    Keep spinning.

    May 1, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Rudy-Who is being insensitive to race right now in congress?
    ---------------------------
    Paul Ryan, for one, with his remarks about "inner city men" not having a work ethic. The real sin is when he backpedaled away from the remark after being criticized for it. Ryan indicated that he didn't articulate his thoughts very well. Everyone noticed that he didn't deny the context behind his words, nor apologize for their content.

    May 1, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. smith

    @DM4O-Both the GOP and Dems have had issues with this subject. Acting like only the GOP does is pure spin.

    May 1, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit asked:

    14 of these meatheads voted against it? LOL. Anyone care to place bets on how many of those 14 get caught in something related to this issue at some point?
    ---------------------------
    It wouldn't surprise me if they all turned out to be "cut spending" purists.

    May 1, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Enough is Enough

    They need a half a million dollars to be taught to keep you mouth shut and hands to yourself? I thought we learned that in grade school. We have complete fools running this country.....

    May 1, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. rla

    If they or their staff feel they need this type of training they should resign!! BOTH PARTIES

    May 1, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    @ria, yes, you said it right this time. I admit this fact.

    May 1, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Silence DoGood

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama
    It is hilarious to watch the GOP do damage control before the November elections.
    Getting rid of the nasty aftertaste that they've left in our mouths is going to take a little more than $500k worth of sensitivity training though...
    Keep spinning.
    ----------
    GOP extremists to women:
    This is what you cannot do and who you cannot marry and what you must believe.
    GOP extremists after 500k worth of sensitivity training:
    This is what you cannot do and who you cannot marry and what you must believe, please.

    May 1, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Tom l

    Silence,
    So there hasn't been any dems that have this issue?

    For the record I would've sided with the with the 14. How on earth these adults need this type of training is beyond me.

    May 1, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The $500,000 would be used to implement a web-based training program ..."

    @ Tom:

    "How on earth these adults need this type of training is beyond me."

    Laughing out loud, Tom. Years ago working up the secretarial corporate ladder I would not have questioned that this training was very much needed.

    In the year 2014? Yeah. I agree it is beyond me as well. Including the price tag ...

    May 1, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @Tom l
    Silence,
    So there hasn't been any dems that have this issue?

    For the record I would've sided with the with the 14. How on earth these adults need this type of training is beyond me.
    --------–
    In context of my comment I do not recall any that were advocating laws telling women what to do, whom to marry, and what religion to believe.

    May 1, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. just asking

    they should also mandate it for all whitehouse personnel as well. it might have helped bill clinton.

    May 1, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Translation....

    See, there's no war on women from the GOP....

    Just in time for the election....

    Sexual harassment training but have an unplanned pregnancy.... A completely different story....

    May 1, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Tom l wrote:

    Silence,
    So there hasn't been any dems that have this issue?

    For the record I would've sided with the with the 14. How on earth these adults need this type of training is beyond me.
    -------------------------------------–
    Why am I not surprised that even if "these adults need this type of training" that you would still vote against it?

    May 1, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Translation....

    See there's no war on women by the GOP. That's a democratic myth.

    Just in time for midterms...

    May 1, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Tommy G

    They should be getting all of the same training as companies including ethics, insider trading, etc. This way Charlie Rangel and Nancy Pelosi will know they are breaking laws.

    May 1, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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