Last month, 30 Republican senators voted against Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) amendment that would punish defense contractors “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” His amendment was inspired by Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang-raped by her co-workers while working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad in 2005, and then had to fight her employer for justice.
The GOP senators who sided with defense contractors at the expense of women — such as John Thune (SD) — have been facing an intense backlash. David Vitter (LA) refused to give a rape victim a straight answer when she confronted him about his vote, claiming that he is “absolutely supportive of any [rape] case like that being prosecuted criminally to the full extent of the law.”
Politico reports that Republicans are now scratching their heads at why the public is so incensed about their “no” votes:
Privately, GOP sources acknowledge that they failed to anticipate the political consequences of a “no” vote on the amendment. And several aides said that Republicans are engaged in an internal blame game about why they agreed to a roll-call vote on the measure, rather than a simple voice vote that would have allowed the opposing senators to duck criticism.
As BarbinMD writes, “Seriously? They voted against an amendment that was prompted by the brutal gang-rape of a young woman by her co-workers while she was working for a company under contract for the United States government, after which she was locked in a shipping container without food or water, threatened if she left to seek medical treatment, and was then prevented from bringing criminal charges against her assailants. And they failed to anticipate the political consequences?”
Thune is also claiming that Franken doesn’t really care about Jones and other rape victims whose employers have blocked them from seeking justice; he and other Democrats just wanted to “create a vote which they could use to attack Republicans.”
So basically, the only lesson they learned is that next time, they have to hide their votes when they decide to screw over women’s rights. That way, they can support their allies in the contracting business and the public will never find out.