House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday that the entire U.S. House will now face mandatory training to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination, moving to address the growing national scandal over behavior ranging from the boorish to the criminal.
His comments came hours after a House committee held a hearing on harassment, in which lawmakers told their own stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted.
Mr. Ryan said the House will now have a policy of mandatory training for every lawmaker and every staffer.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” he said.
During the hearing before the House Administration Committee Rep. Annie Kuster, New Hampshire Democrat, recalled her time as a young staffer on Capitol Hill, where she said she was assaulted by someone she called “a guest of the Congress.”
She said without training on how to respond, she had no idea what to do or what her rights were.
She praised the move to order mandatory training.
“We need to address sexual harassment and assault in workplaces across the country and the halls of Congress are no exception,” she said.
House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, Mississippi Republican, called the training a “necessary first step” as the House comes to grips with the issue.
“No one should be subjected to inappropriate behavior, and we will continue to raise the level of awareness and the standard of proper conduct in Congress,” he said.