Senator Marco Rubio said Monday he supports various efforts to overhaul the process of reporting and investigating allegations of sexual misconduct in Congress, two days after the Florida Republican fired his top staffer for what he said was evidence of inappropriate behavior with subordinates.
The U.S. Senate is likely to receive legislation from the House of Representatives this week that would mandate sexual harassment training for everyone who works in Congress along with changing the reporting process for victims and investigations conducted on Capitol Hill.
While some of his Senate Republican colleagues have said legislation isn’t necessary to force change and merely changing Senate rules would suffice, Rubio said he would support any effort that swiftly addresses wrongdoing while protecting victims.
“Senator Rubio would support any measure that requires senators to deal with harassment the way he has – swiftly, decisively and protective of the victims’ wishes to not be publicly identified,” Rubio spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement.
Perez-Cubas was referring to Rubio’s actions when informed of former chief of staff Clint Reed’s alleged misconduct.
According to a statement issued by Rubio’s office, the senator was made aware of allegations about Reed on Friday afternoon. After investigating the allegations with his general counsel, Rubio traveled from Florida to Washington on Saturday evening and fired Reed.
Rubio didn’t cosponsor a recent bill from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that won the support of various Democrats and Republicans, though the statement from his office indicates he would vote in favor of legislation if it reaches the Senate floor. A bill sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., is likely to pass the House of Representatives this week and the Senate can begin consideration of the proposal. Harper’s bill would update the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act and require the legislative branch to comply with workplace laws related to sexual harassment that are currently enforced in the private sector.
“The CAA Reform Act brings more transparency, accountability, and stronger protections for employees,” Harper said in a statement. “It institutes a respectful, more streamlined process for individuals to report claims and reach a resolution. Ultimately, these reforms will strengthen protections for individuals and needed accountability in the workplace.”
Read more here.