by Eric Roper
Jon Stewart devoted a segment of The Daily Show last night to Al Franken's recent amendment which cuts funding for defense contractors who prevent employees from suing over sexual assault and other grievances. The legislation passed the Senate last week, with about 30 Republicans -- all male -- voting against it.
It was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who says she was gang raped while working for a subsidiary of Halliburton in Iraq and then prevented from suing because of a mandatory arbitration clause in her contract.
Stewart criticized the senators who voted against the legislation for taking more forceful action to defund ACORN than the people "committing real gang rape."
The Daily Show host is not the first to use the vote as fodder to criticize the GOP. The Louisiana Young Democrats attacked Sen. David Vitter for voting against "ensuring women have the right to seek justice." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow made a point of listing the "nay" votes during her show, and her colleague Ed Schultz said it was evidence that the Republican Party is sexist.
Also, a strategist predicted in Politico that the vote on the Franken amendment will likely be used in attack ads during the next election cycle.
It is worth noting that while Sen. Jeff Sessions did argue that the Senate should not be involved in rewriting private contracts (as Stewart says), one of the primary arguments against the amendment is that arbitration is actually benefitial to employees. Sessions made this point several times.
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