On Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled a social distanced bill to combat a series of incidents where students were allegedly groped and kissed by members of the Republican Party.
It was a response to the recent sexual misconduct allegations against GOP lawmakers, which included former Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Rep. John Katko (R-Pa.), and Sen. Al Franken (D).
A recent report by the Congressional Accountability Office found that in the House of Representatives, the GOP regularly targets minority groups.
Democrats are seeking to make it easier for minority members to speak out and raise issues in their districts.
“The American people want to know whether or not the Republicans are using their position of power to intimidate and harass people and intimidate their constituents, or are they actually using that power to help them win?”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at a press conference Tuesday.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of that.”
Democrats plan to introduce a separate bill to help prevent members of Congress from “pushing people to their knees,” or engaging in physical and verbal conduct that is “inherently hostile” to their constituents.
“That is absolutely unacceptable,” Pelosi said.
“There’s no room for that in our democracy.
We have to stop that.
This is not about politics.
This was a political attack.”
Pelosi also told reporters that Democrats would introduce a “framework bill” for dealing with the sexual harassment and assault allegations against lawmakers, and that “we will be bringing those up for a vote at some point in the future.”
The new Democratic proposal will allow members to file complaints and request an investigation into alleged misconduct by members, but would not criminalize such conduct.
Democrats have already introduced legislation to criminalize “sexual harassment” and other “political intimidation” by members.
Democrats also plan to add a section to their bill that would allow members of congress to be fired for “conduct detrimental to the House or its reputation.”
“Members must take the necessary steps to prevent their staff from engaging in inappropriate conduct, including reporting incidents to HR,” the bill reads.
“In the absence of such a resolution, an employee may be terminated for conduct detrimental to House or House staff’s reputation, as well as for violating House or Committee rules.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said in a statement that the new bill “puts the onus on members to act to protect themselves from abuse and to protect their constituents.”
He added, “If we want to fix this, we need to start by removing the incentive for these members to retaliate against members of their own party.”
Democrats are also trying to address a broader problem in American politics, which is the lack of representation for people of color.
In November, former Vice President Joe Biden, who was African-American, announced he would be running for president in 2020.
His campaign has faced criticism for failing to reach out to voters of color, which has sparked a backlash from some members of his own party.
“I think there are some members in the Republican caucus that have some very serious issues with me, that really do not understand what it means to be a member of the House,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D.
Conn.), a member from Connecticut who is black, told MSNBC on Tuesday.
DeLauros office told Politico that she had “no comment on the matter.”