Davis Delivers Opening Statement During Today’s Congressional Workplace Rights Oversight Hearing

Nov 9, 2021
Press Release

 Washington, DC – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) delivered this opening statement during today’s hearing titled, “Oversight of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights: Lessons learned from the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act.”

CLICK HERE to watch today’s hearing.

Text of Davis’ opening remarks:

In 2018, Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate worked to pass the first overhaul of the Congressional Accountability Act since it was passed in 1995. It passed the House unanimously. The reforms included in the bill were based on the findings of a comprehensive review of the laws, procedures, and resources related to sexual harassment within the House. Our overall goal with these reforms was to professionalize the House by bringing more transparency to the process, ensuring bad actors are held accountable, and creating stronger protections for employees.

Now, almost three years later, we have a responsibility to determine whether these reforms are working – if they’re helping accomplish our goal of professionalizing the House.

As a side note, I believe we need to be holding more oversight hearings like this one, especially since COVID has changed how many of the House offices operate.

One area that needs to be assessed is the Workplace Rights Training mandated by the Congressional Accountability Act.

Under the Congressional Accountability Act, in-person training for members, staff, and interns is required each year. However, COVID quickly forced the Workplace Rights Training to go completely virtual over the last two years. As a former district staffer for 16 years, it’s critical for us in Washington to consider the practicality of programs passed out here, where staff are all in the same place, on district staff where staff can be in multiple different offices hundreds of miles apart, depending on the district.

For example, allowing this training to be conducted virtually has made is much easier for the interns and staff in my district in the state of Illinois, which covers 14 counties, to receive the training in a timely and efficient manner. Before, when the training was in-person, the district staff would sometimes have to spend an entire day just to travel to and from the training because it might be offered only once at a single location. This left them unable to help constituents during that time. Additionally, it’s an added cost to taxpayers when they have to pay someone from Franklin Covey to be sent to all 435 districts across the country.

I look forward to discussing, with our witnesses, the effectiveness of this virtual training and the potential for OCWR to take on the implementation of this training themselves, rather than contracting it out, and the impact this may have on the program, and whether it could save taxpayer dollars.

Lastly, I want to mention the search for a new executive director. Congratulations to the current Executive Director, Susan Grundmann, on her new position, and I want to thank her for her service. It’s important for us to understand the timeline and process for choosing her replacement - and I would very much like to be consulted on any potential replacements. OCWR works closely with Member and Committee offices, so we want to make sure that it is responsive and helpful for staff and members.

With that, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and I yield back.
117th Congress