Marino introduces bill to address sexual harassment in Congress

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, said it’s time something is done about sexual harassment, and he’s willing to start with members of Congress.

Marino introduced legislation to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay settlements involving federal lawmakers.

House Bill 4485 would also require the House Committee on Ethics to consider expelling those who commit such acts.

Marino said any form of sexual harassment is completely unacceptable.

House and Senate members, he said, should be held to an even higher standard, while readily acknowledging some have committed such acts over the years.

“As more information comes out regarding the secretive process for harassment complaints, it is clear that major changes need to be made,” he said. “It is unconscionable that Congressmen and Senators have taxpayers foot the bill for their disgusting actions.”

Marino strongly feels there is support for his legislation.

Congressional colleagues, he said, already are looking to sign off on the bill.

“My legislation takes a small, but important step, by ensuring that no taxpayer money can be used to settle harassment claims,” he said. “This is a serious problem, and Congress must act.”

Marino said he’d eventually like to see the disclosure of any member of Congress who taps taxpayer funds to settle a case.

He said sexual harassment must be taken seriously and be rooted out among Congressional members.

He added that often congressional staff members are victims.

“We have to protect our staff. We have young people just coming out of college wanting a career, and to face that,” Marino said.