Perhaps you've noticed in the past few weeks the tough talk coming out of the progressive Democratic base, the media, and even parts of the Democratic establishment blasting the 30 Republican Senators who opposed the amendment offered by Al Franken (D-MN) prohibiting the federal government from working with contractors who prohibit employees from pressing rape charges against them in court.
Democratic challengers to these Senators are already bashing them for the vote. And Democratic activists express their righteous rage over the vote daily.
How could you not?
Well, you might not if you thought you were going to get the rug pulled out from under you. But that couldn't possibly happen, right?
An amendment that would prevent the government from working with contractors who denied victims of assault the right to bring their case to court is in danger of being watered down or stripped entirely from a larger defense appropriations bill.
Multiple sources have told the Huffington Post that Sen. Dan Inouye, a longtime Democrat from Hawaii, is considering removing or altering the provision, which was offered by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and passed by the Senate several weeks ago.
Yes, as Jed noted earlier, this amendment could actually be gutted.
Why? Lobbying from defense contractors, of course!
Now, it's a lousy day to have to announce that news, given that it's a special day for Senator Inouye -- a combat-wounded Medal of Honor winner, by the way -- as he officially becomes the third longest-serving Senator in American history, an accomplishment for which he's being lauded by colleagues on the Senate floor this afternoon.
But a fact's a fact. Removing this provision would be a serious embarrassment to Democrats, their candidates, their grassroots base, and in no small part, its elected.
Are there problems with it? Certainly some say so:
Franken's amendment passed the Senate on October 21, 2009 by a voting margin of 68 to 30. The 30 Republicans who opposed the provision were widely pilloried in the press. But they were actually joined in some of their concerns by the Obama administration's Department of Defense, which worried that "enforcement would be problematic, especially in cases where privity of contract does not exist between parties within the supply chain that supports a contract."
The White House, for its part, told HuffPost it supports the intent of the amendment and it is "working with the conferees to make sure that it is enforceable," said spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Certainly all legislation has complications. But this is a common sense reform, and if difficulties should arise regarding privity of contract, let's let defendants carry that water as necessary. They, at least, will have their day in court to do it.
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