May 1, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) issued the following statement after successfully amending H.R. 4487, the 2015 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, to include $500,000 in additional funds to enhance sexual harassment training programs. The funds will be used by the Congressional Office of Compliance for outreach to inform House office employees what their rights are, the obligations of congressional offices to protect their employees from sexual harassment, the various forms sexual harassment take, and where to go if they experience sexual harassment.
“Many Americans think Congress has unchecked power. They think we know how to make laws but don’t know how to follow them. They think of us not as the House of Representatives but as the House of Hypocrisy,” Congresswoman Speier said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Congress speaking about sexual harassment and the epidemic of rape in the military and on our college campuses. It is just as important we bring the same scrutiny to our own actions.
“Sexual harassment training is already mandatory for Executive Branch agencies and has proven to bring a significant reduction in the number of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims. But this training for Congress is only voluntary,” Congresswoman Speier said. “If you work for a private company in a state such as California, it’s likely you’ve had several hours of training on how to identify and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. That’s clearly not the case here in Congress. The Congressional Office of Compliance provides sexual harassment training but it’s not usually requested until after it’s too late when an incident has already occurred. This amendment should send a clear message that Congress needs to hold itself to a higher standard and live by the same rules most of the private sector abides by.”
Click here to view the video of Congresswoman Speier introducing the amendment.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.