BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Police remain quiet days after officer shoots man Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Family of Mario Gilmer Jr. sets up GoFundMe for funeral costs following canceled safety alert 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: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 60°
Angola
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 57°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 60°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 57°
It'll be another pleasant day with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events