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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A California congresswoman said she is sharing her personal experience with sexual harassment in the hopes of inspiring current and former congressional staffers to do the same.In a video posted online Friday morning, Representative Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said that a chief of staff forcibly "kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth" when she was working as a congressional staffer. In the video, she did not name the person behind the alleged abuse.Speier confirmed to ABC News that the man the allegation was directed at was Joe Holsinger, the chief of staff for former Representative Leo Ryan, D-Calif. Holsinger was around 50 at the time of the incident, Speier said, and she was in her mid-20s. Holsinger died in 2004.Speier continued in the video, “Many of us in Congress know what it’s like because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long.”"I know what it’s like to keep these things hidden deep down inside,” Speier said in the video, adding, "I know what it's like to remember that rush of humiliation and anger."Speier is pushing a new movement -- "#MeTooCongress" -- by encouraging Capitol Hill staffers to share their stories, if they feel comfortable, in order to "throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior that until now has thrived in the dark without consequences."Thousands of people have shared their stories of alleged sexual misconduct using the hashtag #MeToo on social media in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. More than 60 women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the movie mogul. Weinstein has denied all allegations.Speier tried to make sexual harassment training a requirement for House members, staffers and officers by introducing a resolution in 2014. She also pushed an amendment to the House appropriations bill that same year to allot $500,000 to the Congressional Office of Compliance for sexual harassment training. That amendment, however, was taken out of the Senate’s version of the bill.Several female senators shared their stories of the sexual harassment they say they have experienced on NBC News' Meet the Press as well, although none of the incidents occurred on Capitol Hill.Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., recalled that when she was a young state legislator in her twenties, she asked the speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives for advice on getting her first bill out of committee."He looked at me and he paused and he said, 'Well, did you bring your knee pads?'" McCaskill said.When asked during an event last Wednesday in her home state of California if sexual harassment is prevalent on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “I don't have that experience in Washington, D.C. I just don’t. I have not seen that.”Sexual harassment claims on Capitol Hill are handled by the Congressional Office of Compliance, under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. A staffer has 180 days after the alleged incident to file for counseling. After 30 days of counseling, the employee can request private mediation with their office to resolve the matter.If the employee and the office can’t reach a resolution, there are two options to pursue: an employee can either file an administrative complaint and have their case heard by a hearing officer in a private setting, or file a lawsuit in federal district court.Of the 49 new requests filed in the fiscal year 2016 for counseling, aside from discipline, sexual harassment was the issue raised most often by victims, according to a 2016 report from the Congressional Office of Compliance.Representative Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., today introduced the Congressional Sexual Training Act, which would require all congressional offices to train their employees on sexual harassment prevention.Representative Lawrence said in a statement that she believes “it is unconscio
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- House Republicans narrowly approved the Senate-passed budget resolution, clearing a procedural hurdle and allowing the House of Representatives to take up tax reform.  The bill passed 216 –212, with all Democrats and some Republicans opposing the measure. Speaker Paul Ryan cast a rare vote in favor of the measure, highlighting the significance of the vote.A group of New York Republicans opposed the bill out of concerns about potential changes to state and local tax deductions in the GOP tax reform plan to be formally proposed down the line. While the nonbinding budget plan would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, all but the most strident deficit hawks voted for the measure, abandoning traditional GOP orthodoxy for their once-in-a-generation effort to rewrite the tax code using reconciliation -- the process which allows for a simple majority vote in the Senate in lieu of a 60-vote threshold for passage.President Donald Trump has made that argument, pitching the possibility of tax reform to members this week as he rallied support for the budget resolution.“He said, ‘Tom, just hold your nose, close your eyes and vote yes,’” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said of Trump’s message in a phone call last Sunday. “I think that’s how a lot of guys are approaching it.”After their failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year, political considerations also trumped longstanding policy concerns for some members of the party.“There wasn’t a win in health care and the base is frustrated,” Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., told ABC News. “If there isn’t some sort of win I think there will be repercussions in 2018.”Republicans will release the details of their tax plan next week, and hope to send the measure to the Senate by Thanksgiving.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Archives is set to release previously classified files related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The documents related to the investigation into Kennedy's murder -- comprising files from the CIA, FBI, Defense and State Departments, among other agencies -- are being released 25 years after the passage of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The law called for the records to be made available after 25 years, if the president allows their release. President Donald Trump announced that he would permit the files to be made public, and tweeted to tease their release. "So interesting!" he wrote. The vast majority of records related to the assassination -- roughly 88 percent -- have been available since the late-1990s, with an additional 11 percent of the documents released, with redactions, since then. Thursday’s cache will include the remaining files and some of the removed portions of prior documents. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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