Lynn Mitchell over at Bearing Drift lauds Virginia Representative Barbara Comstock’s leadership on the issue of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, and for good reason:
Virginia’s only woman in the Congressional delegation, who represents the 10th District, co-sponsored a bipartisan Resolution that would require all members of Congress and their staff to complete mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. It passed unanimously by voice vote on Wednesday.
At a time when Congress continues to be mired in gridlock along party lines, it is refreshing to see the Republican congresswoman working with Democratic Representative Jackie Speier (CA) who also sponsored the Resolution along with House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS), and Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA). The Resolution, calling for training during each session of Congress, comes on the heels of a similar measure passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this month.
Oddly enough, it is the editors over at The Bull Elephant who are giving latitude to the sentiment Comstock is being less than honest about her opposition to sexual harassment — though such bets are hedged with a devil-may-care angle. Who knows if such concerns are true? Just stick mud to the wall and see if it sticks…
Of course, when the Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy — an otherwise consistent critic of the congresswoman — lauds Comstock’s effort to cast light on the problem on Capitol Hill, you know we are on to something far bigger than the petty sniping of the primary season (which hasn’t officially kicked off yet, for those counting at home):
The two-term congresswoman from Northern Virginia sits on the House committee charged with reforming a system that made it possible for members to settle complaints anonymously and with taxpayer dollars.
But she drew national attention two weeks ago during a committee hearing when she recounted a story she had heard about a young Hill staffer who abruptly quit after a congressman exposed himself.
“I do think this is a watershed moment,” she said in an interview Tuesday in her Capitol office. “What happened in Hollywood, what happened in media, in other industries sort of broke it all open that it didn’t matter where you came down politically, that a predator is a predator.”
Comstock’s first-hand perspective on this makes her a whistleblower, throwing the red flag first and furthest onto a field that seems incredibly packed with Democratic members of Congress, the media, and Hollywood.
The Washington Times sadly dove into the scrum of blaming the whistleblowers such as Comstock with blaring headlines asking what she knew and when she knew it. Thinking readers can decide for themselves whether such headlines are motivated by either rank political advantage or any true concerns for the process.
If the process is the concern, then Comstock must be praised not only for embedding herself into the problem but ripping out the wiring of the system entirely.
To boot, Comstock was one of the first to demand that disgraced Rep. John Conyers resign. Given the fact that it is the Chairman of the House Administration Committee that signs off on the settlements and non-disclosure agreements, it is Comstock who demanded that those individuals be able to speak up anyway.
That the Washington Times had to take down what later became an inaccurate and misleading op-ed suggests that Comstock’s critics — both left and right — are not only way off base, but off their facts (and potentially off their meds).