Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden voted in favor of a motion that would have blocked the creation of the Senate office that receives sexual harassment complaints.
Biden was one of six Democrats who joined an effort to block the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in 1991 on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The vote came less than two years before Tara Reade allegedly filed a complaint about her treatment as an employee in Biden's Senate office.
Created as a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 in the shadow of Anita Hill's testimony on Capitol Hill, 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.
The Grassley amendment creating the office subsequently passed by a voice vote.