BREAKING NEWS : Suspect ID as man behind fake social media pages in Delphi investigation Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Steuben County detectives arrest Fremont man in shooting death of friend Full Story

McConnell, Schumer say long-stalled Senate sexual harassment bill will pass 'in short order'

The Senate leaders of both political parties released a rare joint statement Wednesday, saying they expect to quickly...

Posted: May 23, 2018 4:04 PM
Updated: May 23, 2018 4:04 PM

The Senate leaders of both political parties released a rare joint statement Wednesday, saying they expect to quickly pass long-stalled sexual harassment legislation that would overhaul the system through which Capitol Hill handles such cases.

"We want to commend Senators Blunt and Klobuchar, who have worked tirelessly and in a bipartisan way, to address this serious issue," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. "With this agreement, both parties are coming together to update the laws governing how the Congress addresses workplace claims and protecting staff and others from harassment. We're optimistic that after our members review the legislation, this bill will pass the Senate in short order."

The legislation was formally released Wednesday from Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The two senators, the chief negotiators of the deal in the Senate, presented the outlines of the plan Tuesday during their respective party's policy luncheons and it was received positively by Democrats and Republicans.

'Nothing about it felt right': More than 50 people describe sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

With McConnell and Schumer's stamp of approval, the bill will now be quickly moved in the Senate -- likely bypassing committee process and being brought directly to the floor of the Senate for a vote. McConnell could announce those steps soon.

Senate aides tell CNN that the hope is to get it passed this week in the Senate. But if that slides it would have to wait two weeks until after the Memorial Day recess.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in February, which would reform the Congressional Accountability Act, which set up the process for handling sexual harassment complaints on Capitol Hill and hold lawmakers personally liable for paying settlements, rather than allowing them to use taxpayers' money out of a little-known account of the US Treasury.

Should the Senate pass the bill, it would need to either be sent back to the House again or go to conference committee taken up by a conference committee.

The biggest difference between the House and Senate bills centers around the language of members liability for sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The Senate's version aims to tighten up the language to make very clear when members would be required to pay for settlements -- and when they would not.

Senate lawyers felt the way the House bill was written left the lawmakers potentially open for a member to legally be responsible to pay the settlement if a staff member's wrongdoing led to a settlement. The Senate bill would outline more clearly if the member was responsible for the misdeed, they would pay out of their own pocket. If a member of the staff is responsible, the settlement would still come out of the US Treasury fund, using taxpayer money.

The member would be on the hook for all settlements from their own misconduct, including other forms of discrimination such as gender, race and age discrimination. The member's liability would be capped at $300,000 -- as the legislation writes they would be on the hook for "compensatory damages" which are already limited in current law at $300,000.

Among a few other changes, the Senate bill would also require reporting of settlements and awards paid only once a year, whereas the House bill calls for reporting semi-annually.

Senators from both parties had long pushed for a bill to address sexual harassment. One of the most vocal critics of the delay, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, said Tuesday's announcement was an "important step forward."

"By passing this reform, we can finally make sure that when a member of Congress sexually harasses or discriminates against someone on their staff, the taxpayers are not left holding the bag, and it finally removes the barriers that were preventing many victims of harassment and discrimination from reporting what had happened to them, like the absurd 'cooling off period' before a formal complaint could even be filed," Gillibrand said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1130719

Reported Deaths: 17736
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1468762242
Lake732391255
Allen68004883
Hamilton51739488
St. Joseph50459650
Elkhart40619547
Vanderburgh34963497
Tippecanoe31212276
Johnson27963467
Hendricks26585385
Porter25969387
Madison21318457
Clark20392279
Vigo19244309
LaPorte17405261
Delaware17004303
Howard16942315
Monroe16794220
Kosciusko14447167
Hancock13259186
Bartholomew13180191
Warrick12320190
Wayne12200269
Grant12181247
Floyd12096226
Morgan10552192
Boone9966124
Noble9429123
Marshall9295147
Henry9268169
Dearborn9053100
Dubois8877140
Shelby8402130
Cass8241128
Lawrence8134185
DeKalb7933109
Jackson779993
Huntington7761116
Montgomery7213123
Gibson7179118
Harrison7031100
Knox6958116
Steuben676589
Miami6675114
Whitley667260
Putnam651286
Clinton633179
Wabash6323111
Jasper622192
Jefferson5946105
Ripley565994
Adams547981
Daviess5124118
Scott498980
Wells4894106
White486069
Greene4749101
Clay468662
Decatur4659110
Fayette462597
Jennings457167
LaGrange432291
Posey412944
Randolph4010107
Washington393656
Fountain382264
Fulton368374
Spencer365147
Starke361474
Owen358577
Sullivan351155
Jay336450
Orange335272
Rush314833
Carroll301639
Franklin295244
Perry292853
Vermillion285958
Tipton253367
Parke251630
Pike251244
Blackford224944
Pulaski213759
Newton185052
Brown179750
Benton171717
Crawford170729
Martin152619
Switzerland149412
Warren137816
Union125116
Ohio92913
Unassigned0599

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1735925

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1807941843
Cuyahoga1705042655
Hamilton1146441544
Montgomery811601405
Summit728891210
Lucas637861027
Butler57319814
Stark544971183
Lorain42941645
Warren36238417
Mahoning36168788
Lake32818501
Clermont31601369
Trumbull27766620
Delaware27462185
Licking26929344
Medina26408353
Fairfield24875287
Greene24585373
Clark22391390
Portage21591283
Richland21339342
Wood20348248
Allen19172326
Miami17486352
Columbiana17078335
Muskingum16882207
Wayne15914307
Tuscarawas14631362
Marion13477196
Ashtabula12980237
Erie12832199
Scioto12586188
Pickaway12326155
Ross11824226
Hancock11659175
Geauga11090179
Lawrence10729172
Belmont10548234
Huron9891159
Jefferson9724228
Union966575
Sandusky9465166
Seneca9020161
Knox8893176
Washington8738159
Darke8446181
Athens842897
Ashland8130152
Auglaize8042120
Shelby7575135
Defiance7431117
Crawford7376150
Fulton7284113
Brown7225116
Logan7087111
Guernsey701786
Mercer6964100
Highland6822120
Clinton6554106
Williams655299
Madison653990
Preble6343140
Putnam6300122
Jackson586597
Champaign586187
Perry571279
Coshocton5700108
Ottawa5696102
Morrow524665
Fayette499072
Hardin4960100
Gallia475878
Van Wert470895
Pike468478
Adams4638110
Henry440380
Hocking414293
Holmes4044141
Wyandot379975
Carroll373678
Paulding327551
Meigs307961
Monroe237261
Noble221949
Morgan219439
Harrison216953
Vinton189738
Unassigned06
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 17°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 14°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
22° wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 22°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 17°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
22° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 16°
After a cold start to the week, warmer air begins to filter back into the region Wednesday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events