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Senator Gillibrand today marked 100 days since House passage of key reforms to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995; Senator Murray joined call for action in Senate

Senator Murray: “…to say we in the Senate are overdue for action is a massive understatement.”

Senator Murray: “… the longer we wait to act, the longer the Senate is sending a message that it’s still business as usual, that sexual assault and workplace harassment can still be swept under the rug.”

Senator Murray: “Women and workers across the country are saying time is up—and it is time the Senate showed it is listening.”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, echoed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) call for Senate action on legislation to reform outdated Congressional policies on sexual assault and harassment. Senator Murray had previously called for action to address sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, including in Congress, and today submitted remarks for the record urging her colleagues to update and strengthen protections for survivors of all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination in congressional offices. A comprehensive package reforming the Congressional Accountability Act passed in the House of Representatives 100 days ago.

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s remarks for the record:

“… the longer we wait to act, the longer the Senate is sending a message that it’s still business as usual, that sexual assault and workplace harassment can still be swept under the rug, and that this institution’s workplace policies are still overwhelmingly designed to protect those with power from consequences, rather than empowering those without it to speak up and get justice.”

“But let me be clear: when it comes to workers’ ability to do their jobs without facing harassment or assault—business as usual is a thing of the past. Women and workers across the country are saying time is up—and it is time the Senate showed it is listening.”

“We can do this by reforming our own policies without any further delay, and then working together to make sure survivors are heard not just in Congress and  Hollywood—but in restaurants, hotels, airlines, and every other workplace where women are done accepting what they never should have had to accept in the first place. There is no question in my mind that our country would be far stronger for it.”

Full text below of Senator Murray’s remarks for the record:

“Thank you.

“I want to start by expressing my appreciation to Senator Gillibrand, Senator Klobuchar, Senator McCaskill, and the Minority Leader, and all of my colleagues who are pushing for action to reform Congressional policies around sexual assault and workplace harassment.

“As Senator Gillibrand noted, it has now been 100 days since the House passed comprehensive reforms to Congress’s seriously outdated policies. And to say we in the Senate are overdue for action is a massive understatement.

“Let’s be honest. We know that at its creation this institution was not designed to be a place where women, people of color, or the LGBTQ community were expected to play a role. Not as elected officials—and not as staff.

“Let me give you an example.

“When I first arrived in the Senate in 1993, as one of a record-breaking six women Senators—there was not even a women’s bathroom near the Senate floor. Apparently no one thought women would spend much time there. We fixed that—and we have made some important progress in other ways as well.

“But there is so much more to do to make sure that regardless of who you are, you can focus on the job you came here to do, not about how to avoid a threatening coworker in the hallway, or wondering whether to come forward about abuse.”

“The longer we wait to act, the longer the Senate is sending a message that it’s still business as usual, that sexual assault and workplace harassment can still be swept under the rug, and that this institution’s workplace policies are still overwhelmingly designed to protect those with power from consequences, rather than empowering those without it to speak up and get justice. 

“But let me be clear: when it comes to workers’ ability to do their jobs without facing harassment or assault—business as usual is a thing of the past. Women and workers across the country are saying time is up—and it is time the Senate showed it is listening.

“We can do this by reforming our own policies without any further delay, and then working together to make sure survivors are heard not just in Congress and  Hollywood—but in restaurants, hotels, airlines, and every other workplace where women are done accepting what they never should have had to accept in the first place.

“There is no question in my mind that our country would be far stronger for it.