ICYMI: In a bill that sailed through the House and Senate by unanimous consent on Thursday, Congress overhauled its embarrassingly demeaning (to We the People) policy governing the settlement of sexual harassment claims using taxpayer dollars to keep them secret .
The new bill will require lawmakers to pay out of pocket instead of relying on a slush fund created using taxpayers’ dollars to payout when they get sued by staff for groping or other lewd behavior.
The fact that the bill took months to negotiate is an affirmation of just how absurd members of Congress views their responsibilities… when it comes to holding themselves.
The new legislation, if signed into law by President Trump, not only will hold members of Congress personally liable for sexual harassment settlements, it will also require the publishing of regular reports of those settlements, although no reporting schedule is defined within the bill.
It has long been suspected that one of the “tools” leadership relies on for keeping politicians from wandering off the ideological reservation is leadership’s knowledge of compromising acts that members want kept secret.
Once politicians have been “outed” all leverage is lost. This bill would seem to eliminate that leverage. That is a good thing.
As expected, some politicians mischaracterized the bill.
According to a report by Reuters, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), one of the primary sponsors of the bill told reporters on Thursday:
“Time is finally up for members of Congress who think that they can sexually harass and get away with it. They will no longer be able to slink away with no one knowing that they have harassed. … They will pay back the U.S. Treasury.”
Emily Zanotti of the Daily Wire contradicts Speier’s assertion that suggests the law is retroactive.
Rather, members of Congress who had previously used seventeen and a quarter million dollars to hide their sexual misdeeds – including rape – in 264 reported incidents, will continue getting a pass.
It would seem this bill wouldn’t require more than two pages to outline its intent and penalties. It’s 79 pages long. Considering that it sailed through both the House and Senate on unanimous consent decrees, the cynic in me says we’re yet to learn the mitigating devil that is in the details.