>> A rush to reign in sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill is uniting Democrats and Republicans in a way few issues could. Karen Bohan is on the story.>> There's bipartisan outrage over the process for dealing with sexual harassment in Congress that exists now. One, because the process is antiquated compared to how these issues are resolved in the private sector.
The accuser is sworn to secrecy, and the worry is that a serial harasser could reach several settlements. And no one would ever know, because there is no process under which it can come to light. And then when a settlement is reached it's not the person accused of harassment who has to pay the settlement.
It's the taxpayers who have to pay it.>> A proposed Senate bill, the Congressional Harassment Reform Act, would do away with those rules, critics say, penalize accusers. And would require accused lawmakers to pay for their own settlements. The bill draws on proposals from two Democrats, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and House member, Jackie Spear.
>> It's about do you care about the victim? That's the first question we should all be asking. Do you care about the victim?>> High profile Republicans have now climbed on board including John Cordin, the Senate's number two Republican as well as Senator Ted Cruise, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The proposal builds on the national wave of women coming forward with accusations against prominent men such as, Harvey Weinstein, and Matt Lauer, in the private sector. In Washington, misconduct allegations unverified by Reuters, prompted the resignations last week of three lawmakers, Democratic Senator Al Franken, Democratic House Member John Conyers, and Republican Trent Franks.
Conservative Republicans are pushing a separate bill banning the use of taxpayer dollars for settlements, and requiring past settlements to be disclosed and reimbursed.