Gregg Harper

Lawmakers Push for Sexual Harassment Bill in Spending Package
Bipartisan coalition, Speaker want legislation included in omnibus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans and Democrats are making a last-minute bid to add legislation that would address the sexual harassment of staffers by members of Congress on the omnibus appropriations bill.

With dozens of policy issues still in flux as part of the full-year fiscal 2018 spending package, some lawmakers are upset by indications a bill that would implement robust sexual harassment policies in Congress is currently not part of the omnibus. The House passed the anti-sexual harassment measure, as well as sweeping rules changes aimed at protecting staffers, by voice vote on Feb. 6.

House Approves Funding for Lantos Human Rights Panel
Move is a first for commission that holds hearings, briefings

The House will direct funds to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, named after the late House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House for the first time will direct funds to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a panel of members that has operated on a volunteer basis since it was created nearly a decade ago.

The House Administration Committee on Wednesday by voice vote backed a $200,000 allocation from a reserve fund for commission operations and personnel. Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., said the committee resolution was in response to a request from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bulletproof Vests, Security Guards Approved for House Members
Hiring a security detail is “an ordinary and necessary reimbursable expense,” the new guidelines say

House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, shown here in November, had a busy Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers can use taxpayer funds to buy bulletproof vests and other security equipment, under a resolution approved by the House Administration Committee on Tuesday.

The resolution also allows members to hire security personnel for events such as town halls, to guard their district offices during business hours, and to accompany them on official business. 

House Adopts Rules to Curb Sexual Harassment
Members are now forbidden to have sexual relationships with their aides

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., says the rule changes, along with the bill passed by the house on Tuesday, empower survivors of harassment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the wake of high-profile resignations over sexual harassment claims, the House on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to its internal rules intended to protect staffers, including a prohibition on sexual relationships between members and their aides. Lawmakers also passed a bipartisan bill to overhaul the process for investigating and resolving complaints by congressional employees regarding sexual harassment.

The House by voice vote adopted the rules change, which goes into effect immediately because it only pertains to the chamber. Representatives also passed by voice vote the bill that would revamp the twenty-year-old Congressional Accountability Act. That bill now heads to the Senate.

House Bill Updating Sexual Harassment Procedures Moves Straight to Floor
Monday markup canceled in favor of accelerating floor action

House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper has canceled a markup of anti-sexual harassment legislation. The measures will now move straight to the floor for a vote Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11:56 p.m. | The House Administration Committee canceled a scheduled Monday markup of bipartisan sexual harassment legislation so that two measures can move straight to the floor for a vote on Tuesday.

The committee had been scheduled to consider one bill and one resolution, both unnumbered.

Thanks, but No Thanks, Bryant Tells McConnell, Trump of Cochran’s Seat
Mississippi governor not interested in potentially replacing ailing senator

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., could step down amid lingering health concerns, many around Capitol Hill believe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is not interested in replacing Sen. Thad Cochran if Cochran steps down due to health concerns.

Bryant will not appoint himself to fill Cochran’s seat, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported Thursday, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump both broached the idea in separate conversations with the governor.

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said in December that a bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on the Hill would put victims on “a level playing field.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

House Sexual Harassment Legislation Still Being Developed
Goal is to release bill next week, says House Administration Committee chairman

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman on the House Administration Committee, says legislation to update sexual harassment procedures is still in development. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper said Wednesday that a measure updating sexual harassment procedures he had planned to introduce this week is still being fine-tuned but that he’s hopeful it will be ready for release early next week.

If he can meet that new due date, a markup on the measure could be held later that week, the Mississippi Republican said.

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

Mississippi’s Gregg Harper Not Running for Re-Election
Harper will leave behind Solid Republican seat

Mississippi Rep. Rep. Gregg Harper is not running for a sixth term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi GOP Rep. Gregg Harper, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, will not run for re-election in 2018. 

“I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us,” Harper said in a statement.