We've written several items about Jamie Leigh Jones, the local woman who is suing KBR over a gang-rape she says happened while she was working for the company in Iraq.
The company put up roadblocks to her attempts to resolve the situation and her claims of rampant sexual harassment in KBR camps, but the federal courts have allowed her lawsuit to proceed.
As part of the most recent appropriations act for the Defense Department, Senator Al Franken attached an amendment that would, according to the official Senate site,
prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.
In other words, companies must allow rape victims to have their day in court. Pretty straightforward, and who would be against it?
A Texas senator, as it turns out.
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The amendment passed easily, 68-30, but among those voting against it: Our own John Cornyn.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, on the other hand, voted in favor.
Color Steve Benen of Washington Monthly as unimpressed with Cornyn and his colleagues:
Perhaps I should be thankful that 10 GOP senators voted with the majority -- by contemporary standards, I suppose that's a lot -- but what possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?
Let's not overlook the larger context here. Democrats are expected to try to find "bipartisan" support on practically everything. Some GOP lawmakers think health care reform isn't "legitimate" if it doesn't have 80 votes.
And yet, when the Senate considered a measure yesterday to give rape victims who work for U.S.-subsidized defense contractors a day in court, 30 out of 40 Republican senators said, "No."
The notion that the majority should be able to reach constructive, worthwhile compromises with this minority is clearly ridiculous.