Taxpayers no longer have to pay for congressional harassment settlements

  • 18 December 2018
  • NormanL

In a bit of good news for taxpayers, Congress has agreed to a measure that puts the costs of any settlements for sexual misconduct squarely on members of Congress:

Members of Congress will have to start covering the costs of sexual harassment and retaliation settlements themselves. An agreement yesterday paved the way for this new policy—the first major change to congressional sexual harassment rules for more than two decades.

Right now, harassment and retaliation settlements "are paid through taxpayer-funded accounts members use to pay for office salaries and expenses," explains NPR.

[The] agreement worked out differences between House and Senate versions of the update. The Senate version would have capped how much lawmakers themselves had to pay, while the House version would have set no limits. The compromise version does not set limits in sexual harassment lawsuits but does in cases of court-ordered damages (at $300,000).

"The deal comes after nearly a yearlong standoff between the House and the Senate over member liability and other issues in the bill," reports NPR. But now "Senate rules committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chief GOP negotiator in the Senate, says he expects the bill will pass the Senate this week."

The legislation also edits other aspects of how harassment and retaliation claims against lawmakers will be handled, with an aim to make the process less complicated and more transparent...

Good. There's no reason why taxpayers should have had to pay for the moral failings, and in some cases, criminal behavior, of members of Congress. The only bad thing is it took so long for such a common sense policy to become law. 

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