While members of Congress remain very much divided as to what constitutes career-ruining sexual misconduct allegations, on Wednesday the House approved a bipartisan measure that would require lawmakers and aides to undergo annual anti-harassment training.
During the House “debate” of the measure (which passed unanimously), Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California recounted how a woman told her that one time, on the House floor, a man “grinded up against her and then stuck his tongue in her ear.” And House Speaker Paul Ryan said that sexual harassment should not be tolerated “in any workplace, let alone in the United States Congress.”
According to the Associated Press, one Democrat at least apparently noticed that something might be at little off with a measure that purports to support women, yet is itself supported by Paul Ryan. Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, a Democrat, argued that the House’s measure wasn’t taking the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace seriously enough, suggesting to reporters that if members of the media could be forced to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, so could members of Congress. “We don’t do the same,” said Rice, “and I think it’s a disgrace.” Last week, Rice called on Rep. John Conyers to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
When Ryan was asked whether he believed lawmakers should be more vocal in addressing the claims of women who say they were sexually harassed by Donald Trump, he predictably dodged.
“Right now we’re focused on making sure this place works the right way,” said Ryan.