Al Franken went out deep on a limb and made his first amendment to face a roll-call vote to stop the practice of defense contractors essentially allowing consequence-free rape on their overseas bases:
On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Democrat got his first piece of legislation passed by the United States Senate via roll call vote. The amendment stopped federal funding for those defense contractors who used mandatory arbitration clauses to deny victims of assault the right to bring their case to court. It passed by a 68-30 margin with nine Republicans joining each voting Democrat. And in the immediate aftermath, Franken was granted the chance to revel, ever so slightly, in his victory.\
"The story came to my attention of Jamie Leigh Jones who, when she was 19, went to Iraq to work for [defense contractor] KBR and she was put in the barracks with 400 men and was sexually harassed," Franken told the Huffington Post in a brief interview shortly after the vote. "She complained. But they didn't do anything about it. She was drugged and gang raped and they locked her up in a shipping container. She tried to sue KBR and they said you have a mandatory arbitration clause in your contract. She tried to fight back and said this is ridiculous. She took it to court and they have been fighting her for three years."
"This bill would make it so that anybody in business with the Department of the Defense can't do this," he concluded emphatically. "They can't have mandatory arbitration on issues like assault and battery."
You'd think this kind of amendment wouldn't only get 100 votes, but somehow former Senators would storm the floor and demand that they too could offer their support for the legislation. Instead, in the culture we now have in Washington, 30 Republicans voted against this. I don't know how you characterize this other than saying that they think it's perfectly reasonable for women to be raped on Defense Department-funded American bases, left in shipping containers, and barred from bringing up charges subsequently. They actually called this a political attack aimed at Halliburton, even though the bill named no contractor specifically.
Um, what would you call the "Defund ACORN Act," exactly? And while I know that was the biggest scandal in the history of scandals, AFAIK ACORN has never protected their employees from raping someone and detaining them in a shipping container. Again, to the best of my knowledge.
These Republicans should be completely ashamed of themselves.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that, while the Franken amendment was nice, the overall defense authorization bill includes lots of spending for the war in Afghanistan, and would ban the transfer of any detainee at Gitmo to the United States. As Franken would say, "Oy."