House releases bill to overhaul harassment reporting process

WASHINGTON -- House lawmakers have unveiled a bipartisan bill to overhaul how sexual harassment claims are handled on Capitol Hill.

The bill proposes major reforms to the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, and comes after months of discussion among both Republican and Democrat lawmakers about how to create more transparency as the #MeToo movement continues to roil the political sphere.

Under the new legislation, lawmakers who settle harassment cases will be required to pay back the Treasury for the amount of their settlement within 90 days, including members who leave office; if they don't, their wages could be garnished. The bill also prohibits lawmakers from using their budgets to pay for settlements.

The legislation also eliminates mandatory counseling and mediation as a prerequisite to filing a harassment complaint or federal lawsuit.
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