Yesterday, 30 Republican senators opposed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would prohibit federal defense contractors like Halliburton/KBR from getting money “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.”
In other words, 30 GOP senators want to deny rape victims their day in court.
Think Progress has the story of the woman who prompted this amendment:
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.
Senator Al Franken introduced the amendment to the appropriations bill last week to prevent such complete disregard for the rights of rape victims. Nine senators (Mary Landrieu, Benjamin Cardin, Amy Klobuchar, John Kerry, Jeff Merkley, Bill NElson, Dianne Feinstein, Sherrod Brown and Jeanne Shaheen) joined Franken in cosponsoring the bill — and it passed with 10 GOP senators supporting it after a passionate speech from Franken:
All four Republican women (Susan Collins, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lisa Murkowski and Olympia Snowe) voted for the amendment, and they were joined by Bob Bennett, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, George LeMieux, Dick Lugar and George Voinovich. These GOP senators deserve our thanks for truly embracing bipartisanship to vote for a bill that is clearly a good idea.
Of particular note in this bunch? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nominee for president John McCain. Senators intimately familiar with sex scandals David Vitter and John Ensign.
Really, guys? Opposing a bill intended to let rape victims get prosecution? That’s truly a new low for the Republican party.
You can call them out on it! If you’re a constituent of one of these members, we’ll deliver your letter of outrage to them — and if you’re not, it’ll go to Minority Leader McConnell, who speaks for all Senate Republicans. Send your letter today!
Photo by Laura Padgett, used under Creative Commons