Rep. Messer introduces bill that helps protect sexual harassment victims in Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C.-An Indiana Congressman is introducing legislation that would help protect victims of sexual assault and harassment in Congress.
Republican Congressman Luke Messer's bill would make sure that victims aren't silenced by non-disclosure agreements and would stop taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims with members of Congress.
The legislation comes amid recent sexual harassment scandals involving multiple members of Congress. Recent reports say that Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers settled a sexual harassment complaint with a former staff member using taxpayer dollars.
In a recent interview, Messer says current law favors only one side of the situation.
"It seems entirely designed to protect the member with very little thought to the person who is the victim of harassment, so I think there is a lot of work that needs to be done," Messer said.
The Washington Post reported that the government has paid more than $17 million in taxpayer money over the last 20 years to settle sexual harassment claims and other violations filed by employees of Congress.
The congressman says he also supports the bipartisan "Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act", which would make sexual harassment training mandatory for all members and staff. The House is expected to vote on that bill today.