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October 22, 2018

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Amodei rips Senate for cutting sexual harassment reforms from bill

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., speaks at the 19th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit at Zephyr Cove, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in South Lake Tahoe, Nev.

Nevada 2nd Congressional District Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, was highly critical of the Senate for cutting part of the omnibus spending bill last month that would have barred lawmakers from using taxpayer money to pay sexual harassment settlements.

Amodei, speaking Monday on Nevada Newsmakers, said the House approved sexual harassment legislation months ago and sent it to the Senate. Despite being praised for its transparency and accountability, the legislation was cut from the final omnibus bill in the Senate.

“It is not my issue or crusade, but holy mackerel, you have north of 400 votes (in the House). It was bipartisan, from North, East, South and West. Then it doesn’t make it in there?” Amodei said. “No wonder people hate this process.”

The omission got through because Senate leadership handed the 2,200-page bill to Congress just hours before a final vote was necessary to avoid a federal government showdown, Amodei said. “It was totally hidden,” he said.

A push for sexual harassment legislation grew out of the #MeToo movement and news reports about lawmakers settling harassment complaints quietly using taxpayer money.

More than $17 million has been paid to victims in federal workplace settlements since 1990, according to the Office of Compliance. That figure includes sexual harassment, age and race discrimination, retaliation and other types of claims.