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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) participates in an onstage interview about tax policy with Thomson Reuters Editor in Chief Stephen Adler in Washington, U.S. October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC16144FEA60

House panel schedules hearing on sexual harassment

The House Administration Committee says it will hold a hearing as part of its review of House policies and training to combat sexual harassment.

The panel’s chairman, Republican Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi, says he wants to ensure the House provides needed training about sexual harassment and remind lawmakers and staff of policies that support a person’s right to report any incident of harassment.

Announcement of the Nov. 14 hearing comes after House Speaker Paul Ryan encouraged members of Congress to complete sexual harassment training and require such training for their staffs.

The news comes after one current and three former female members of Congress told The Associated Press they have been sexually harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments by their male colleagues while serving in the House. The revelations come amid an intensifying national focus on sexual harassment and gender hostility in the workplace, and underscore that no woman is immune, even at the highest reaches of government.

The incidents occurred years or even decades ago, usually when the women were young newcomers to Congress. They range from isolated comments at one hearing, to repeated unwanted come-ons, to lewd remarks and even groping on the House floor.

Speaking on the record were current Rep. Linda Sanchez of California and former Sen. Barbara Boxer, former Rep. Mary Bono and former Rep. Hilda Solis.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is encouraging members of Congress to complete sexual harassment training and require such training for their staffs.

Ryan calls reports of sexual harassment by public figures “deeply disturbing” and said Congress “can and should lead by example” to combat harassment.

The Wisconsin Republican says lawmakers have approached him in recent days to express concerns about House policies against harassment. The Associated Press reported Friday that female lawmakers say they have been harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments by fellow members of Congress.

In a letter Friday to all House members, Ryan said he wants to be “absolutely clear that any form of harassment has no place” in Congress, adding that lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure the Capitol is “free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”

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