An Embarrassing Display From Tennessee Senators

Sen. Al Franken attached an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would prevent federal funding from going to contractors who force their female employees to sign contracts that prevent them from suing the company if they get raped by other employees. This stemmed from the gang rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was an employee of KBR in Iraq. After being gang raped, she was locked in a shipping container and was told she would lose her job if she were to seek medical attention.
When she came back to the states, she attempted to sue KBR but discovered she had no legal recourse because she had signed a contract stating that she wouldn’t sue the company. So it stands to reason that we wouldn’t want our tax dollars going to a company that operates in such a heinous manor. The bill passed the senate with a vote of 68 to 30. All 30 who voted against it were Republicans, and two of those 30 were Tennessee’s senate representatives, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. We should be so proud.
Corker’s reasoning for voting against the amendment was a bit vague. “The Franken amendment went far beyond the ill it was trying to remedy to encompass most possible employment claims.”
What Corker means by the amendment going “far beyond the ill” is that it not only applies to rape but also to claims of sexual assault, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, retention and supervision. That’s according to The Minneapolis Post.
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss suggested that he was against it because it would eliminate arbitration and an employee’s only recourse would be a long and costly lawsuit. This is a bad excuse and happens to be incorrect. Arbitration would still be an option if an employee preferred it. Their positions seem totally unreasonable and embarrassing. Why should our money go to companies that force their employees to sign contracts that force arbitration?
I really don’t know the real reason why our Tennessee Senators voted against the amendment. Maybe they’re on Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ bandwagon. He said he voted against the amendment because the government should not be too much involved with the writing and rewriting of private contracts. Maybe he needs to go back to senator school, because those are our contracts and he helps to decide who gets those contracts. We should be able to dictate who we do business with and set the guidelines for those contracts. It’s fairly simple: if a company has an arbitration only clause, you don’t get a government contract. If you try to cover up rape, you don’t get our money.
It seems to be an illustration of party politics at its worst. There’s no real reason to deny this amendment except for the fact that it was brought forth by a Democrat. And it’s another black eye for Tennessee and Southern politics in general. Some ideas are much too important to be chained to a political party’s ideology. I don’t know if this issue will make any kind of impact upon the next election, but it should. Because as a senator, if you can’t stand up for basic human rights, then your motives and character should be questioned.


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