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Amid a congressional investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee says he will step aside from that role. But he also said he's giving up the seat reluctantly.

Rep. Conyers, a 27-term congressman, is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and he denied reports he settled with a woman in 2015 who claimed she was sacked before she rejected his sexual advances.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement today following Conyers' announcement that "Zero tolerance means consequences".

Pelosi continued that she was confident Conyers would "do the right thing" as his case is reviewed, but stopped short of referencing resignation. "We are at a watershed moment on this issue".

As Breitbart News reported, the office released a report that showed between fiscal year 1997 and fiscal year 2017 some $17 million had been handed out as settlements to individuals or groups of individuals who filed a variety of charges against members of Congress or staff, including sexual harassment claims.

The California Democrat noted that the House in the coming week will vote on requiring anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs.

Conyers' decision comes on the heels of a week in which key members of the Democratic caucus expressed their support for their colleague amidst calls for him to resign or otherwise face punishment. "We also have to address it for every person, every workplace in the country, not just in the Congress of the United States".

Conyers holds a powerful position on Capitol Hill as ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, and Pelosi on Sunday defended what he has done as a longtime member of Congress.

"Even under these unfortunate circumstances, the important work of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee must move forward", Nadler said.

"To be clear, I would like very much to remain as ranking member", Mr Conyers added in his statement.

"The whole system needs to have a comprehensive shift", Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier told ABC's This Week.