U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today released the following statement after reports that House and Senate leadership stripped her Congressional Harassment Reform Act language from the omnibus bill. Provisions from Gillibrand’s bipartisan Congressional Harassment Reform Act, which is currently cosponsored by over a quarter of the Senate, were included in the omnibus bill throughout the negotiation process, but were removed by Leadership at the last minute:
“I am appalled that House and Senate leadership removed provisions from the omnibus bill at the last minute that would have finally brought accountability and transparency to Congress’s sexual harassment reporting process. It begs the question: Who are they trying to protect? I can’t think of any legitimate reason to remove this language other than to protect members of Congress over taxpayers and congressional employees. Nothing about this should be controversial at this point; the Congressional Harassment Reform Act has broad bipartisan support in the Senate and these provisions already passed the House unanimously. I demand that Senate leadership bring my legislation to the floor for a vote immediately.”
Gillibrand has been a vocal leader in urging Congress to reform its own process for victims of sexual harassment. She introduced the Congressional Harassment Reform Act in December 2017 with more than 20 bipartisan cosponsors. Last month, Gillibrand called on Senate Leadership to take immediate action to bring the Congressional Harassment Reform Act up for a vote or include it in the upcoming omnibus legislation.