All 22 women in the Senate signed onto a letter Wednesday demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately allow a vote on a bipartisan bill that would require lawmakers to pay taxpayers back for money used to settle sexual harassment lawsuits, according to Politico.
“Survivors who have bravely come forward to share their stories have brought to light just how widespread harassment and discrimination continue to be throughout Capitol Hill,” the senators wrote in the letter addressed to McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“No longer can we allow the perpetrators of these crimes to hide behind a 23-year-old law,” the female senators said.
The Hill added:
The legislation being pushed by the female lawmakers would update the 1995 policy and streamline the process of reporting sexual harassment, while giving staffers additional resources for those filing reports.
The House has already passed changes to its rules, which establish an Office of Employee Advocacy to represent harassment victims.
However, the Senate has moved more slowly on the issue, which female lawmakers say has a created “an inequity.”
“Senate staff who face similar harassment or discrimination must pay personally for legal representation or represent themselves through complicated legal proceedings,” while House staffers receive “access to free legal representation,” the bipartisan group of women wrote.
“I don’t yet have a prediction on when that will be completed,” McConnell’s spokesman David Popp told CNN.