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    In 1991 Biden Opposed Creation of Senate Office to Handle Sexual Harassment Complaints

    In 1991 Biden Opposed Creation of Senate Office to Handle Sexual Harassment Complaints

    Tara Reade alleges he sexually assaulted her two years later.

    The Washington Free Beacon reported that back in 1991, presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, then Delaware senator, opposed a procedural motion that would have created a Senate office to handle sexual harassment complaints.

    Former Biden staffer Tara Reade alleges he sexually assaulted her in 1993, two years after he opposed the motion.

    From The Washington Free Beacon:

    Created as a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 in the shadow of Anita Hill’s testimony on Capitol Hill, the creation of the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices was an attempt to remedy the fact that Congress was, at the time, exempt from workplace discrimination laws. An amendment to the civil rights law introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) chartered the office and provided “procedures to protect the right of Senate and other government employees … to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”

    Grassley’s amendment sparked fierce opposition from some of his colleagues, led by then-Republican senator Warren Rudman (N.H.), who argued that the office would become a “Son of Frankenstein” and warned that “everyone here will be in jeopardy and we will have done much violence to this body and the Constitution.”

    Rudman raised a point of order aimed at declaring the amendment unconstitutional and striking it from the Civil Rights Act. The legislative maneuver failed by a 76-22 vote, with Biden joining Rudman, and then-senators William Cohen (R., Maine) and Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.), to eliminate the office.

    Biden and six other Democrats considered the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in 1991 unconstitutional. Biden did not explain his vote during the Senate debate.

    Rudman tried to ruin the amendment when he failed the first time. Biden again voted with Rudman when Grassley tried to table the amendment. It passed the tabling motion.

    The amendment passed via a voice vote. We do not know Biden’s final vote. Biden’s campaign told the publication that the then-senator “‘voted for a point of order on an amendment’ that would have established the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices.”


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    2smartforlibs | May 5, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Reaching back It seems Teddy liar of the Senate Kennedy made a cut out for Congress on every issue like this they saddled us with.

    rabid wombat | May 5, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    The advertisement write themselves….

    buck61 | May 5, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    was an attempt to remedy the fact that Congress was, at the time, exempt from workplace discrimination laws.
    yet another example, that the government doesn’t have to obey the laws they enact

    Dimsdale | May 5, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I bet he didn’t oppose the slush fund to pay off victims though, did he?

    Apologize for the length, but I’m going to be wonk and correct the part of the post that mentions a tabling motion.

    The first vote, mentioned in the excerpt from the WFB (102nd Congress, 1st Session, vote 235), was whether to sustain a Rudman point of order on a Grassley amendment. Rudman made it because he believed that the Grassley amendment, which created the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, was unconstitutional.

    22 senators, including Biden, voted aye, agreeing with Rudman’s point of order that the Grassley amendment was unconstitutional. 76 senators voted no; in their opinion the amendment was perfectly constitutional. Since only 6 of the 22 ayes were Democrats, that means 16 Republicans thought the Grassley amendment was unconstitutional, and some of those names are pretty recognizable.

    After that vote the Grassley amendment was agreed to by voice vote since the vote on the point of order made it clear it had the votes to pass if they held an up-down roll call vote on it.

    The tabling vote, vote 236, was a Grassley motion to table a Rudman amendment to “require the President or a Member of the Senate to reimburse the appropriate Federal account for any payment made on their behalf out of such account for an unfair employment practice judgment committed under the provisions of this title by the President or Member of the Senate not later than 60 days after the payment is made”. Aka. reimburse the government if it had to pay out because you were naughty.

    To table an amendment is a procedural move to kill it. Basically, “let’s just shove it aside and act like it never existed.” However, a tabling vote can be a really good indicator of where people stand on the issue being addressed without them actually voting yes or no on the substance of the amendment via an up-down vote to pass it.

    The vote on the motion to table the Rudman amendment was 22 in favor of killing it and 75 saying no, it should stay alive. Biden was one of the 75 (as was Rudman, since it was his amendment). 17 of the 22 were Democrats, and included such names as Gore, Kennedy and Lieberman.

    After that vote the Rudman amendment was agreed to by voice vote since 75 senators, including Biden, had just indicated they were fine with it.

    End of essay. Apologies once again for the length.

      p in reply to p. | May 6, 2020 at 12:45 am

      Back to give the TL:DR version of the essay.

      With the first vote, Washington Free Beacon writing 76-22 instead of what it really was, 22-76, makes it look like Biden opposed a procedural motion he actually voted to support. Biden was one of 22 senators who voted in favor of a motion that said the Grassley amendment to create the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices was unconstitutional. There were 76 nos, so 76 senators thought the amendment was constitutional and the motion was therefore invalid.

      In a different vote, which was 22-75, Biden was one of 75 senators who voted against a motion to set aside an amendment by Senator Rudman that would have required the president or a senator to pay back the government if it had to pay out because of an unfair employment practice judgment against said president or senator. By voting no he indicated he was likely in favor of the amendment.

      Both amendments ended up passing by voice vote because the procedural votes showed they had enough support to pass.

      Now I’ll really shut up.

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