Two U.S. representatives from Tennessee want to get rid of a sexual harassment hush fund paid for by taxpayers.

Sponsors of the bill said it was used to help members of Congress settle claims.

In 1995, members of Congress passed a bill called the Congressional Accountability Act.

It put Congress on the same level as other American employers when it came to employment and workplace safety laws. What some didn't know existed was a fund used to pay off victims of sexual harassment.

"If ever there was a moment in history where they need to be totally transparent, open everything up, not have any kind of fund to protect themselves, it's this moment," Former Congressman Zach Wamp said. 

Wamp helped pass the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.

He said he never knew about lawmakers using a so-called hush fund to silence victims of sexual harassment. Wamp said that wasn't the intent of the legislation.

"I think there might have been a settlement fund for cases whether it involved federal employees or the capitol police, but I don't believe for a second there was ever an intent to allow members of congress to to use funds like this to pay people off," Wamp said.

Several members of Congress hope to get rid of the fund paid for with tax dollars. 

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann supports the recently filed Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act.

"One settlement paid out on sexual harassment claims from taxpayer money is too much in my estimation. It's intolerable. It should not be done," Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, (R) Tennessee said.

Over the last two decades, sponsors said taxpayers picked up the bill for more than 200 congressional settlements totaling around $17 million. Not all were for sexual harassment.

The proposal would make members of Congress who used the fund reimburse the money with interest. Any accuser who received a settlement could share their story publicly.

"This is the first time that i have truly felt that, wow, this is a tipping point," Bergen Aldahir of the Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults said.

The Chattanooga organization helps those who have been sexually traumatized. She sees hope in this bill that would bring accountability and transparency by listing who has used the hush fund.

"This is supporting the victims, not the perpetrators. I think that our culture and our community, we're tired of seeing people just get away with this over and over again," Aldahir said.

On Wednesday, the house approved a bill requiring sexual harassment training for members of Congress and staff.

As for the other proposal, sponsors hope to put it up for a vote on the House floor before the end of the year.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for more details on this developing story.