House members and aides will be required to undergo anti-harassment training, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Tuesday amid broad calls to crack down on sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill.
Ryan’s move, which echoes action taken by the Senate last week, came hours after female lawmakers publicly shared knowledge of sexually harassing behavior by at least two sitting members of the House. Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) made their disclosures at a House Administration Committee hearing on the Hill’s harassment policy, which lawmakers as well as aides have decried as opaque and punitive for victims.
“Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and staff,” Ryan said in a statement. “Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution.”
Senators in both parties are in the early stages of talks on further reforms to the chamber’s existing system for handling harassment complaints, and Ryan signaled that House members would also begin their own discussions on broader changes.
“As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules Committees to implement mandatory training,” he said, “we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment.”
Speier and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are preparing to introduce legislation that would remove the requirement that victims of harassment on the Hill undergo mediation as well as release public data on congressional offices that are the subject of complaints. Both female Democrats are reaching out to potential Republican cosponsors for their proposals.