Jan 18, 2018

New bill would end use of taxpayer money in sexual harassment settlements

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

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 859,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

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Biden doubts Democratic convention can go ahead as planned amid outbreak

2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential debate in a CNN studio in Washington, D.C. on March 15. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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The big picture: President Trump said earlier Tuesday projections indicated COVID-19 could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The virus has killed more than 4,000 people and infected almost 190,000 others as of Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 859,796 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 189,618 — Total deaths: 4,079 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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