Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sen. Al Franken's first piece of legislation puts off male GOP Senators. Read why!

Sen. Al Franken proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” The amendment stems from this reported case In 2005, where 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.

Franken's measure passed on Dec. 3rd, 68 to 30. The 30 opponents -- representing 75% of the entire GOP Senate caucus -- were Republican men. This shouldn't be political, as this has nothing to do with politics, but it was. There were some Republican men who voted for the amendment like Sen. Dick Lugar and Florida Sen. George LeMieux as well as the 3 women Republican Senators, Olympia Snow, Susan Collins and Sen. Murkowski. Bravo!!!

But In a bizarre twist, those GOP senators who voted against the Franken amendment are now livid because they're facing criticism over the vote. Worse, they're furious with Franken for not defending them for having voted against his amendment. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) added, "I don't know what his motivation was for taking us on, but I would hope that we won't see a lot of Daily Kos-inspired amendments in the future coming from him. I think hopefully he'll settle down and do kind of the serious work of legislating that's important to Minnesota."

All I can say is to reiterate earlier comments I have made, the Republicans are miscalculating their stance against anything the Democrats propose and it will cost them in future elections. What harm could it have done to have a unanimous support for this amendment in the hopes of creating more bipartisanship in the Senate. It wouldn't have cost them anything to do it. Another lost opportunity by most, but not all, Republican Senators. America is the loser here. What a shame! It was passed into law on Dec. 21st along with Defense Appropriations, while we were all preparing for Christmas. Here's something to be grateful for in 2009.

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