Katherine Tully-McManus

Saying Goodbye to a Media Refuge: The Rayburn Press Room
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

Senate Passes Bill to Address Harassment on Capitol Hill
But critics say measure “may have unintended negative consequences”

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill by voice vote that would crack down on sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and update the onerous process for employees to report harassment and discrimination.

The overhaul measure was quickly brought to the floor, after being released Wednesday with the backing of the Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders.

Senate Anti-Harassment Bill Could See Fast Action
Lawmakers would be held personally liable for misconduct

Updated 6:34 p.m. | The Senate is moving to combat sexual harassment on Capitol Hill with a bill aimed at overhauling the process for reporting and resolving claims of harassment and discrimination, in addition to holding lawmakers personally liable for misconduct settlement payments.

The proposal, unveiled Wednesday, has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. And the chamber could pass it as early as Thursday. The House passed a sweeping overhaul of harassment procedures in February.

Threats Away From Capitol Worry Senators
Capitol Police have requested additional funding

Senators on Tuesday cited fears about inadequate protection at events outside the Capitol campus and in their states, and urged the Capitol Police chief and the new Senate sergeant-at-arms to re-evaluate the threat assessment process for lawmakers.

At a Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, lawmakers pushed Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger to justify requested funding and personnel increases for Capitol security while also ensuring protection for lawmakers elsewhere — particularly in their states and at gatherings in Washington away from Capitol Hill.

House Appropriators Vote to End Perk for Former Speakers
Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi both back ending office space, funding for former speakers

The House Appropriations Committee advanced its $3.8 billion fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch spending bill to the floor Tuesday, after adopting an amendment to eliminate funding for a Capitol Hill office perk for former speakers.

The panel backed the bill, 47-0, after adopting by voice vote a manager’s amendment from Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, which would end taxpayer funding for an office for former House speakers, along with staff and other resources.

Senate Might Vote on Duckworth Resolution to Allow Infants on the Floor
Rules change pushed by Illinois senator following birth of her second child

The Senate is known for resisting change, but senators might quickly and quietly update one of the most entrenched rules of who can be on the chamber floor.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting senator to give birth and submitted a resolution last week that would allow senators to bring a child under 1 year old onto the Senate floor during votes.

Inquiries to Congressional Office of Compliance Fell in 2017
Cost of settlements did rise, according to report

Despite intense attention on workplace sexual harassment, Capitol Hill employees made fewer inquiries last year to Congress’ watchdog, but the cost of settlements rose, according to new statistics released Friday.

Harassment and hostile workplace issues topped the list of reasons that employees reached out to the congressional Office of Compliance, according to its annual report covering fiscal 2017, which ended last September. Total inquiries to the office were down to 185 from 284 the year before. The initiation of formal complaint resolutions remained mostly steady at 47, down two.

No Elves, No Coal: Myth-Busting the Capitol’s ‘Little Doors’
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

The Capitol has been rebuilt, expanded and renovated many times since the early 1800s. But its corridors still have a few tiny reminders of an innovative fire-fighting system created by the same master engineer who built the iconic Capitol Dome....
Lawmakers Rekindle Efforts to End Harassment on Hill but Face Uncertain Future
Recent omnibus did not include sweeping House-passed harassment measure

A renewed push is underway to more forcefully address Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment problem, just as the latest scandal has led another lawmaker to retire.

It’s not yet clear if a bipartisan call from female senators will be strong enough to prompt Senate leadership to take up legislation to protect staff on Capitol Hill when lawmakers return Monday from a two-week recess. All 22 female Republican and Democratic senators signed on to a letter last week urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to bring House-passed legislation to the floor.

Congress, Waiting for an Omnibus to Arrive
Senate staying on banking legislation, House looks at votes on guns

Keep an eye out for the release of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill this week. Negotiators are aiming to complete work on the sprawling bill and pass it before March 23, when the fifth stopgap funding measure of the fiscal year expires.

The bipartisan budget deal enacted last month freed up an additional $143 billion for discretionary programs in fiscal 2018 — $80 billion for defense and $63 billion for nondefense accounts.

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

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.

New Training Available for Hill Staffers Who Witness Sexual Harassment
Lawmakers implemented training requirements late last year

New training is now available for staffers on Capitol Hill on what to do as a bystander or witness to sexual harassment as offices move to comply with the new anti-harassment training requirements implemented by the House and Senate late last year.

“If you see something, say something” may work for unattended bags on  the Metro, but what to do when you’re witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace is less straightforward. The Office of Compliance, which oversees workplace rights and training for Capitol Hill is introducing trainings — both online modules and in-person — on bystander intervention and general training to combat workplace harassment.

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

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

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.

Not Coming Soon: The Federal Register
Spending law that ended shutdown hitched ride on bill to cut paper deliveries

The legislation that ended the recent shutdown not only turned the government’s lights back on, but also took a small step toward that most elusive of goals: the paperless office. 

That’s because the vehicle for the continuing resolution that funds the government until Feb. 8 was legislation that prohibits the Government Publishing Office from distributing free printed copies of the Federal Register to congressional offices or other government employees, unless specifically requested. When congressional leaders needed a vessel to move their spending cargo, they hitched it to this otherwise innocuous bill. 

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

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 Panel Approves Sexual Harassment Training Guidelines
‘Sea change’ in culture is sought

The House Administration Committee on Tuesday approved guidelines for implementing newly mandated sexual harassment and discrimination training, as members were set to unveil this week more legislation that would respond to allegations of sexual misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

The panel adopted by voice vote a set of regulations governing fulfillment of the training, including that it must be in person, have options for reporting complaints even from a bystander and that trainees must be allowed to ask questions anonymously. The House adopted a resolution Nov. 29 that mandated training for all House members and staff — but left the substance of the effort to the Administration Committee.

Congress Mandated Harassment Training; Now They Have to Pay for It
Costs, details of the popular resolution still up in the air

 

The House and Senate each adopted resolutions mandating harassment and discrimination training for employees of Congress and legislative agencies. Yet it’s not clear how much the training will cost and what it will include.

Covering the Capitol: Adjusting to New Realities
 

Getting quickly from one part of the sprawling Capitol Building to another has always meant negotiating a labyrinth of stairwells and hallways, but these days more places tend to be off-limits due to security concerns at a moment’s notice. Four CQ and Roll Call journalists talk about how critical access to lawmakers is becoming more of a challenge....
Following Senate, House Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
Bipartisan measure comes after allegations against Conyers, Franken

The House on Wednesday adopted by voice vote a resolution that would require all House employees — including all members — to be trained annually on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The bipartisan measure comes on the heels of allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest serving member in Congress, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. As those cases work through the congressional ethics process, there’s a renewed focus on how sexual harassment can be reported on Capitol Hill.