McConnell: Congress aiming for deal on sexual harassment bill this year

McConnell: Congress aiming for deal on sexual harassment bill this year
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that senators are aiming to get an agreement on legislation overhauling how Congress handles sexual harassment allegations by the end of the year.
 
"We're working on getting that done before the end of the year," McConnell told reporters.
 
 
McConnell's comments come after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a leading voice in the effort to impose more stringent rules for sexual harassment on lawmakers, also told The Washington Examiner this week that she hoped to get legislation through by the end of the year.
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Lawmakers have a tight schedule if they are going to get an agreement: They'll be out of town next week for the Thanksgiving recess and when they return they will have just three weeks before they are scheduled to leave town for the end of the year.
 
If lawmakers can't get an agreement to move the legislation on its own, one potential vehicle to advance the bill could be to add it to a government funding bill ahead of a Dec. 7 deadline.
 
The Senate cleared its own sexual harassment legislation by voice vote in May. The bill, introduced by Klobuchar and Blunt, would reform the reporting process for victims of sexual harassment and would make members of Congress personally liable for any settlements.
 
The House passed its own legislation in 2017, but the differences between the two bills have stalled progress for months even as sexual misconduct allegations have toppled high-profile figures on and off Capitol Hill.
 
House leaders expressed almost immediate opposition to the Senate's bill this year, arguing that it would not give enough support to victims of sexual harassment.  
 
Speier told CNN’s “New Day” earlier this year that “both Republicans and Democrats on the House side are disappointed” in the Senate bill.
 
Lawmakers and outside groups criticized the Senate bill for only holding lawmakers personally liable for harassment settlements. In the House legislation, lawmakers were personally liable for settlements stemming from harassment or discrimination.