Bill Kleckner: GOPS’s moral compass: busted |

Bill Kleckner: GOPS’s moral compass: busted

Bill Kleckner

During a recent vote in the Senate, 30 Republican Senators voted against the amendment (SA.2588) to the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill that would stop funding defense contractors who deny sexual assault victims their day in court. The legislation was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, a 19-year-old employee of defense contractor KBR (formerly a Halliburton subsidiary), stationed in Iraq who was gang raped by her co-workers and imprisoned in a shipping container when she tried to report the crime. Upon her return home, Jones learned a fine-print clause in her KBR contract banned her from taking her case to court, instead forcing her into an “arbitration” process that would be run by KBR itself.

The amendment passed 68 to 30. Of the 40 Republican senators, three quarters voted to side with defense contractors who require their employees to sign unethical contracts. These companies are making huge profits at taxpayer expense while condoning rape and immoral behavior. The amendment does not affect companies that don’t have mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment contracts. Yet 30 Republican senators voted against protecting employee rights and safety.

Is this the moral leadership of the Republican Party? Are they so deep in the pockets of big business and defense contractors that they also condone rape and unethical practices. Voting “no” were Senators John McCain, James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, Sam Brownback, Linsey Graham and 25 Republican leaders. The full voting record can be found at:

I find it ironic, and sadly, humorous that the people who are often the most vocal in pushing their moral values and views on others are often caught breaking their own values. Take John Ensign, who called for President Clinton to resign over his affair, now refuses to resign after admitting to his affair and $95,000 in “gifts.” Larry Craig and Evangelist Ted Haggard both were very outspoken about their family values and their anti-gay beliefs, but in private were having gay relationships. The Republicans leaders in Congress claim conservative views and moral values, but their actions are truly telling. Nearly one third of the Senate, all Republicans, voted against an amendment to protect employee’s rights and safety in their employment. It is time for new Republican leadership.

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