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Small step forward on sexual harassment training for Congress

Accusations of sexual harassment against former San Diego Congressman Bob Filner prompted legislation to mandate training for the House of Representatives. Bill Wechter/Getty Images

The House of Representatives has approved another half-million dollars to enhance sexual harassment training programs for the staff who work on Capitol Hill.

What the House has yet to approve is mandatory training for House members.

Thursday's amendment to a spending bill was sponsored by San Mateo Democrat Jackie Speier, who says Americans believe Congress knows “how to make laws, but don’t know how to follow them.”

The measure provides additional dollars for getting the word out to House staffers to tell them about their rights, the obligations of congressional offices to protect employees from harassment, and where to go if they have a complaint.

Last month, Speier sponsored a bill that requires House members and staff to receive mandatory sexual harassment training every other year. The bill is awaiting a hearing.

An investigation by KPCC after sexual harassment accusations came to light aimed at former San Diego Democratic Congressman Bob Filner discovered that House members are not required to take sexual harassment training. Congressional lawyers will – when appropriate – require it.