Sens. Ernst, Shaheen, Capito & Cortez-Masto cosponsor Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act
Aug 05 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today announced that U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) have signed on as cosponsors of their Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019. This bipartisan support comes just days after Sens. Moran and Blumenthal – chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the health and safety of U.S. Olympic and amateur athletes – introduced their sweeping legislation to reform the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in response to findings of systemic abuse within the U.S. Olympic movement.
“We’re grateful to Senators Ernst, Shaheen, Capito, and Cortez Masto for supporting this vital legislation to protect and empower Olympic and amateur athletes,” said Sens. Moran and Blumenthal. “Their leadership delivers a powerful message to the courageous survivors who shared their stories with: Congress is determined to end the pattern of institutional failure that pervades Olympics and amateur sports. We’re committed to getting this bill passed and signed into law for these brave survivors, and for all future athletes, so that they can participate in the sport they love without fear of abuse or intimidation.”
“Sexual harassment and abuse have absolutely no place in our society, and we cannot continue to let our institutions to turn a blind eye to wrongdoings under their own watch,” said Sen. Ernst. “After calling for and concluding an investigation into the appalling, and far too numerous, accounts of sexual harassment and abuse of our amateur athletes, it’s clear that the fractured system of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) needs reorganization, and that’s what our bipartisan bill would ensure.”
“USOC has repeatedly failed athletes and has lost sight of its mission,” said Sen. Shaheen. “As an institution chartered by Congress, legislation to reform the Committee is urgently needed. I am grateful for the diligent and thorough investigative work of the Senate Commerce Committee that resulted in this bill and these critical first steps, and I’m proud to give my support. The heinous crimes of Larry Nassar, and other abuses across a variety of Olympic sports, have shed light on USOC’s negligence and indifference. There must be accountability and lasting change. On a bipartisan basis, this initial effort will help improve oversight at USOC so that our athletes are protected, empowered and heard.”
“Sexual abuse has no place in society whatsoever. After hearing countless stories of sexual abuse and reviewing the findings of the Senate Commerce Committee’s investigation, it is clear that the organization failed to protect these men and women,” said Sen. Capito. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will help empower athletes and provide them with the reassurance that they are protected from similar situations in the future. It’s critical that we create additional measures of accountability and transparency to ensure that an incident of this size and scope never occurs again. Our legislation will accomplish that.”
“Our nation’s talented young men and women striving to achieve their Olympic dreams must feel safe, protected and valued within the Olympic movement,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “That’s why I’m proudly cosponsoring this important bipartisan legislation to provide more congressional oversight, prioritize the health and safety of athletes, and hold the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee accountable for turning a blind eye to sweeping and systematic abuse within the organization. We must protect our country’s athletes from any further trauma.”
The bipartisan Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 is the culmination of an 18-month investigation conducted jointly by Sens. Moran and Blumenthal, which included four subcommittee hearings, interviews with Olympic athletes and survivors, and the retrieval of 70,000 pages of documents.
The Moran-Blumenthal Investigation & Legislation:
- Click here to read the full Moran-Blumenthal investigative report, findings and recommendations.
- Click here to read full bill text.
- Click here to read a one-page summary of the bill.
- Click here to read a section-by-section summary of the bill.
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