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Congress Approves Bipartisan Sexual Harassment Bill

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A bipartisan bill intended to address the issue of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill is headed to President Donald Trump's desk after being unanimously approved by both the House and Senate.

The legislation was sponsored by Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., in the House and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in the Senate.

A joint statement from Klobuchar and Blunt said the bill would reform the dispute resolution process, protect workers, increase transparency and hold Members of Congress accountable.

"For too long, victims of sexual harassment in Congress have been forced into a process that lacks transparency and accountability, and fails them at a time when they need the most support," Klobuchar said in a statement on Wednesday.

Klobuchar claimed the bipartisan, bicameral legislation will "overhaul this broken process, ensure victims can immediately seek justice, and hold Members of Congress accountable."

Provisions of the bill include holding members of Congress personally liable by requiring them to reimburse the Treasury for awards and settlements stemming from acts of harassment they personally commit.

The bill would also eliminate the required 30-day "counseling" period, the required 30-day mediation phase, and the 30-day "cooling off" period and allow victims to immediately pursue an administrative hearing or file a civil action.

Several lawmakers were accused of harassment as part of the so-called #MeToo movement, although it took the House and Senate several months to negotiate a compromise between their different proposals.

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