Congress and the law

October 24, 1991|By Meridian (Miss.) Star

WITH ALL the recent talk in Washington about sexual harassment and the need for heightened awareness and stricter laws, one thing has been left unsaid: Laws on the subject do not apply to Congress.

Nor do other employment discrimination laws. Nor wage and hour laws. Nor Social Security laws.

It isn't that the matter simply slipped the minds of members of Congress. The latest civil rights bill under debate in Congress would also exempt members of Congress and their staffs. So would the pending Family Leave Act, which is designed to guarantee employees unpaid time off from their jobs for circumstances such as childbirth or terminal illness.

Congress is quite willing to set workplace rules for others but reserves the right to do as it pleases when it comes to their own shop.

This is perfectly consistent with the pattern members of Congress have established in creating their own little world in which they are shielded from many of the common concerns, restraints and regulations their fellow citizens face.

Like bounced checks with no penalties, unpaid restaurant tabs and unparalleled benefits and perks, self-exemption from rules of the workplace makes if difficult if not impossible for members of Congress to understand the real-world problems constituents face.

It's time for this arrogant self-elevation to end. What's good for the rest of us should be good for Congress.

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