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House approves resolution prohibiting relationships between lawmakers and employees

[JURIST] The House passed two measures in sexual misconduct procedure and rules Tuesday in a unanimous roll call, including a bill [text, PDF] that addresses changes to how complaints are addressed on Capitol Hill, and a resolution [text, PDF] that changes House rules specifically.

The first measure is a bill amending the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 [text, PDF], which still needs to go to the Senate. Included in this is a rule that forbids lawmakers from sexual relationships between lawmakers and their employees.

The second, a rules change that only applies to the House, establishes a new office of advocacy, and requires each member of the House to adopt harassment and discrimination policies. Lawmakers have always had this, but employees will now be able to use it as well. The office will serve as a place for legal advocacy for employees, and represents them when they file complaints. In addition, congressional offices are now required to certify that they have not used taxpayer funds for harassment settlements.

At least four lawmakers have resigned in recent months over sexual misconduct—one senator, and three members of the house.

In an interview [WP report], one sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said, "Thanks to the #MeToo movement, the American public has made it clear that they have had enough. They expect Congress to lead, and for once we are."

The measures had zero dissent on the House floor.

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