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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) & Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) speak at a press conference on sexual harassment in Congress. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at streamlining the response to sexual harassment in Congress. The "Me Too" Act calls for more transparency, an overhaul of the flawed complaint process, and better support for victims.

Key quote: "There is a serious sexual harassment problem in Congress, and too many congressional offices are not taking this problem seriously at all," said Gillibrand.

Get smart: The rules on Capitol Hill regarding sexual assault require an extensive reporting process, and several critics argue the that the system values the institution over the victims.

  • For someone who works on Capitol Hill, pursuing a harassment hearing or filing a lawsuit against a congressman or staff member first requires counseling through the Office of Compliance. The counseling can take up to 30 days, and informs the accusers of their legal rights.
  • Next they must undergo mediation with the person they are accusing, during which they sign a nondisclosure agreement. The accuser is required to provide their own legal counsel, while the accused gets a House lawyer.
  • After another 30-90 days, referred to as the "cooling off" period, the accuser can file an official complaint.
  • Take note: Interns and fellows do not have access to this process.

Yesterday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the House will require anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs. The Senate introduced similar legislation last week. Speier said move is "a good first step, but much more is needed to fix the broken complaint system that values the institution over individuals."

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

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