By Reps. Karen Handel (R-GA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IND.)
The recent revelations of sexual harassment by elected officials from across the country have revealed a throw-back culture in the halls of Congress that has virtually institutionalized sexist and vulgar behavior — and worse. For decades, misconduct has been swept under the rug. Secret settlements have been paid with taxpayer money, while many turned a blind eye, and victims have been forced to keep quiet in the aftermath.
This culture has been tolerated for far too long. And it has to end. Now, it’s time to get our House — and Senate — in order.
Some say Congress is incapable of leading on this issue, but we believe that Congress MUST lead on this issue. How can we ask Americans to trust us as their elected leaders on the most important issues facing this country if we are unwilling to hold ourselves and our colleagues to at least the same standard as every other working American?On Wednesday, the House passed new rules mandating sexual harassment training for every Member and all personnel. Rep. Barbara Comstock is to be commended for her leadership. The House Committee on Administration also has plans to bring additional reform bills to the House floor in the coming days and weeks. These are good first steps, but they are not nearly enough.
… Being trusted to serve in Congress is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. With the honor of representing Americans in Congress, we must be willing to hold ourselves and those around us to the higher standard that this country deserves. It’s clear that this trust has been shaken, and the integrity of this institution is at stake. Reforms must happen – and they must happen now.
Read the rest of the op-ed here.