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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in the House on Thursday unveiled a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment cases involving members of Congress and overhaul the system for reporting sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: This comes in response to a string of sexual misconduct allegations against members of Congress. The Office of Compliance, set up in 1995 under the Congressional Accountability Act, disclosed last year that Congress has paid more than $17.2 million in tax dollars over the last 20 years to settle 268 sexual misconduct and discrimination cases on Capitol Hill.

Key details of the bill:

  • Under the bill, lawmakers would have 90 days to reimburse the Treasury for awards and settlements paid on their behalf, even after they leave political office.
  • The Office of Compliance would be mandated to report and publish information online every 6 months on awards and settlements. It would include the lawmaker's office, settlement amount, the claims and whether the member has reimbursed the Treasury.
  • House employees would get access to legal consultation, representation, and assistance in proceedings before the Office of Compliance and Committee on Ethics.

Go deeper: Congress has paid $17 million in sexual misconduct and discrimination settlements

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines.
  2. Health: Lessons for trapping the next pandemic.
  3. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  4. Politics: Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  5. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses — In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine its hardly using.
Dave Lawler, author of World
21 mins ago - World

In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine its hardly using

Macron, Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel (R) at a summit in October. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool/AFP via Getty

Italy on Thursday blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia, becoming the first EU country to exercise an export ban due to a vaccine shortfall in the bloc.

Why it matters: The controversial step exposes multiple major challenges to distributing vaccines — even among the world’s richest countries.

Dave Lawler, author of World
45 mins ago - World

Global freedom continues steady decline: report

The global erosion of democracy has continued for a 15th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House.

Zoom in: The report calls particular attention to India, which slipped from “free” to “partly free” due to the government's “scapegoating of Muslims” and “crackdown on critics.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi is, according to the report, “driving India itself toward authoritarianism.”