House Passes Comstock Legislation Combating Sexual Harassment
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement after the House passed by voice vote H. Res. 630, her legislation combating sexual harassment in Congress:
“There is no room for sexual harassment in the work place and we must have zero tolerance for harassment of any kind, especially in Congress. This legislation we passed here today is a strong first step in fundamentally reforming how we address the insidious problem of sexual harassment in the workplace and committing to a healthy, safe working environment free from sexual harassment.
“As a Mom, former intern, former Congressional staffer and counsel and Justice Department employee, and now a Member of Congress on the Committee that will reform this process, this is truly a watershed moment for those who serve in this body. This resolution mandates educating our workforce in Congress, from Members to the interns, on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and having zero tolerance for sexual predators.
“This legislation promotes the essential principles of accountability and personal responsibility. It is bipartisan legislation, because bad behavior transcends party labels and predators come from both parties. It is also important that men are joining women in this effort and we have a broad consensus for additional reforms.
“This is just a first step. Going forward, I will work to reform the reporting process for victims and provide them with an advocate such as a victim’s counsel or Ombudsmen. There must be no taxpayer-funded settlements for accused Members of Congress and we need transparency and accountability in the process both going forward and in disclosing past settlements. I support allowing victims who did make settlements with the opportunity to come forward without fear of consequences from non-disclosure agreements. These and other reforms can and should be adopted as we move forward in providing fundamental reforms to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all.
“Finally, I’d like to thank, Dorena Bertussi, who 30 years ago was the first woman to bravely step up to pursue a successful sexual harassment case against a Member of Congress. I also thank her for her guidance in helping us address these issues today. In her honor, and all of the women who have faced sexual harassment in the workplace, we need to redouble our efforts."