Congress may run out of time to pass its own #MeToo rules, thanks to Senate self-protection racket
Congress may not manage to get its act together to pass a bill dealing with its own sexual harassment issues before the end of the term—and in the next Congress, the distance between the House and the Senate is likely to be even great. It’s hard to argue with the desperate need for such a bill, given a system where staffers who’ve been harassed or discriminated against have to jump through a series of flaming hoops to get to court, and members of Congress get to use official funds to pay settlements, often in secret.
But agreeing that there needs to be a bill and passing one with teeth are two different things. The House has passed a much tougher bill than the Senate, with the Senate refusing to strengthen its bill on three key provisions:
The first is that the House bill requires lawmakers to pay out of pocket for any settlements relating to sexual harassment and discrimination, while the Senate bill allows continued use of taxpayer money. The second is that the House bill provides legal representation to all accusers, while the Senate bill does not. The third is that the House requires an impartial investigation at the front end of a probe; the Senate bill nixes that.
In other words, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell heads up a cartel to protect his people from any consequences ever. “We’re working on getting that done before the end of the year,” he said last month. If that’s so, Mitch, then prove it.