Feb. 6, 2018
Public Citizen Supports House’s MeToo Legislation; Continues Fight Against Weakening Congressional Ethics Office
Statements From Public Citizen Experts
Note: Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4924, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, which would reform congressional procedures for reporting and responding to harassment and discrimination within the legislative workforce. The House also passed H. Res. 724, the House Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policies, which includes a provision that would weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics.
There is no place in Congress for discrimination and harassment. Public Citizen urges the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass its own bill of strong, commonsense protections for survivors. Any final bill must include whistleblower protections for the legislative workforce. We also are extremely disappointed that the House decided to undercut the Office of Congressional Ethics, making it harder for this independent watchdog to shine a light on the black box of ethics committee practices in this context.
– Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen
For more than 40 years, Public Citizen has fought for an open and accessible justice system for those who have been wronged. The legislative workforce deserves no less, and we support this bill because it would strengthen their rights. In addition to getting its own house in order, Congress must pass legislation that removes forced arbitration clauses from private-sector employment contracts so that all workers are given the same access to justice as the legislative workforce.
– Remington A. Gregg, counsel for civil justice and consumer rights, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division
The Office of Congressional Ethics must remain a strong, independent check within Congress, and we remain committed to fighting against any weakening of the office’s power. It is unfortunate that this good and necessary measure is being used to undercut the office’s role in the ethics process.
– Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division