A bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced legislation to protect female staffers from sexual assault on Capitol Hill, but they’re asking for a bigger deal than the ones they have already introduced.
Sen. Susan Collins Susan Margaret CollinsDems move to delay Kavanaugh hearing until after Kavanaugh vote Collins: Kavanaugh accusers ‘should be believed’ MORE (R-Maine) and Sen. Claire McCaskill Claire Conner McCaskallMcConnell backs Trump in crucial midterms for Senate Democrats GOP senators hold fast to Trump despite latest setbacks GOP Senate candidate vows to ‘fight on’ in critical races MORE (D-Mo.) introduced a bill that would require that every male Capitol Hill employee be required to undergo a sexual harassment training course.
“We’ve had enough of this,” McCaskell told reporters Friday, as the Senate took up the legislation for the first time.
“If we don’t act, we’ll be left with women and men being victims of harassment and mistreatment at the hands of one another, at the office and in the workplace.”
The new bill, introduced by Collins and McCaskil, would not only require that men and women be required and trained to attend a sexual misconduct training course, but also that women who come forward with sexual harassment would be protected.
“I have worked in the Senate to help ensure that our workplace is safe and respectful, and I think this bill would make sure that those same protections are there for all members of Congress and their staff,” McCachill said.
“As a woman, I have experienced the same things as many other women in my lifetime, but when I came forward, I felt like my voice was heard.
I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure I could speak out against what happened to me.”
She added, “I have a young daughter, so it’s important that we all make sure we keep our voices heard and that the workplace is an environment where we are safe and respected.”
A spokeswoman for Collins and Sen, Sen. Tom Cotton Thomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBiden is back from overseas as Trump calls for military action Cotton on Kavanaugh: ‘I didn’t say anything’ to Trump Cotton: I don’t recall anything’ at dinner with TrumpSenate Republicans introduce ‘bipartisan” bill to keep House in GOP-run SenateTrump orders EPA to reevaluate ‘net neutrality’ rule, says Obama administration’s ‘regulatory capture’ is ‘an embarrassment’Senate Republicans unveil new plan to combat sexual harassment after Kavanaugh allegationsRepublican leaders promise to use new strategy to avoid impeachment MORE (S.C.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senators also introduced a measure that would allow women who have experienced sexual harassment to file a complaint with the Office of Compliance if they were forced to go to work for an employer with a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment or sexual assault.
“Women are being unfairly treated in our workplaces, and this bill seeks to change that,” Collins said in a statement.
“This legislation would give women a voice, and it would be a critical first step toward protecting our women in our workplace and the women in all corners of our society.”
The White House did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Collins and McCachil, both Republicans, said they were “committed to ensuring that Congress acts on this issue in order to address the serious issues that it faces.”
McConnell, meanwhile, said he had spoken with the Speaker about the issue and was looking forward to working with Democrats to get it passed.
“It’s important for me to be there with him when we get this done, but I also have to be on the right side of the issue,” he said.
“I think it’s a really good bill and I look forward to getting it to the President as soon as possible.”
The bipartisan bill has drawn bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans, who have been working to ensure that sexual harassment and assault is addressed and addressed quickly.
Collins, who also serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said she hoped to see the legislation passed by the end of the week.
“The bill is very bipartisan, and the fact that it’s bipartisan, I think will help the issue get to the president as quickly as possible,” she said.
Sen.(R-Tenn.) introduced the same legislation in April, which passed with a vote of 51-49.
But it faced fierce opposition from Democratic leaders, who accused Republican leaders of blocking a vote and failing to offer a full-throated endorsement of the legislation.
The White and Democratic leaderships of the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Government Reform committees had earlier this week said that they were looking to bring a full vote to the floor in the coming weeks.