Today the Senate "debated" the Department of Defense appropriations bill passed by the House (H.R. 3326) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Republicans added frivolous amendments all day, that were defeated one after the other. The amendment du jour, however, came from Al Franken D-MN.
And what a doozy it is! S. Amend. 2588 simply prohibits "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." The "certain claims" have to do with sexual assault.
I might have phrased it differently myself -- like "prohibits any member of the executive team and Board of Directors of Halliburton and KBR from ever getting out of prison for any reason whatsoever" or something like that. But my amendment probably wouldn't have gotten many votes, unlike Franken's which passed 68-30, every Democrat being joined by 9 Republicans. (Does anyone know if LeMieux has to call Charlie Crist and get his OK before he votes?)
Franken offered the amendment because a KBR employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, age 19, was raped by a bunch of KBR workers in Iraq and then locked up in a crate when she tried reporting them. After she was rescued and returned to America she was informed that she couldn't take KBR to court because there was some fine print in her -- and everyone else's -- contracts that don't permit any such thing. [See the video below.]
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an especially corrupt member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was the key spokesperson for the GOP against the legislation which he called unfair to Halliburton, one of the biggest Republican Party contributors in history.