House Votes To Expand Sexual Harassment Training For Members

May 1, 2014 2:44 p.m.

The House passed an amendment on Thursday that would allocate additional funds to sexual harassment training, though it would still not be required for members and their staffs.

The House added $500,000 to the legislative branch spending bill for trainings.

Rep. Jackie Speier, who has been pushing for members to take a sexual harassment prevention class, sponsored the amendment and said she hopes that training will eventually be required, according to CNN.

“The American people expect us to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting the responsibilities and duties that we hold as members of Congress–not like we are freshman at a frat house,” she said on the House floor Thursday.

Speier’s office told CNN that the legislation was not prompted by Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), who announced this week that he would not be seeking re-election after he was caught kissing his staffer in April.

However, following the release of the video showing McAllister kissing his staffer, Speier condemned his actions and called for sexual harassment training to be required in Congress.

“This is the House of Representatives not a frat house. Regrettably, another of my colleagues, Congressman Vance McAllister, was revealed to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff,” she said in an April statement. “It is time for all of us to get trained — elected officials and their staffs — to recognize what sexual harassment is, and how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens. The House of Representatives should not be above the law.”

Speier mentioned former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on the House floor Thursday. Filner, who had also served as a member of Congress, resigned following multiple sexual harassment charges

Sexual harassment training is already required in the Executive Branch, but not in the Legislative Branch.

Orientation for new members mentions sexual harassment, but they do not receive further training. Lawmakers set the sexual harassment policies for their own offices, and the Office of Employment Counsel will sometimes require training.

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