Members of Congress will no longer be able to use taxpayer money to pay off their settlements in lawsuits involving sexual harassment and abuse according to a deal made in Congress after months of debate.
The agreement between Republicans and Democrats means that members of Congress would have to pay these settlements with their personal funds and not from the government.
But there’s a caveat – the deal that was reached also excludes settlements arising from discrimination, meaning taxpayers will have to continue footing the bill for those lawsuits.
Members would have to pay such settlements personally within 90 days or have their wages garnished.
A joint statement from Republican and Democratic House members applauded the agreement.
“We believe this is a strong step towards creating a new standard in Congress that will set a positive example in our nation,” read the statement, “but there is still more work to be done.”
Settlements will be made known to the public as well, and members will be named when such settlements are made. The bill will tighten restrictions on the process of reporting and processing such claims of sexual harassment against a member of Congress.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also heralded the agreement in a tweet Wednesday.
If the bill passes, it will update the rules in the Congressional Accountability Act from 1955.
Numerous members of Congress were excoriated in the media when it was discovered that they were paying off settlements of sexual abuse and harassment with taxpayer money through a Congressional slush fund.
Here’s a local news report on the new bill: