An amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), which would allow rape victims employed by defense contractors to have their day in court, has made it through conference committee and into the final version of the bill.
The bill was approved today by the House in a vote of 395 to 34. It faces approval next by the Senate.
“The Jamie Leigh Jones amendment is on its way to becoming law thanks to their work, the work of Chairman Inouye, and the work of the White House. I’m pleased that together, we were able to find a solution that allows victims of assault and discrimination their rightful day in court,” Franken said in a statement.
A Franken aide confirms to TPM that the substance of Franken’s amendment is unchanged. The amendment forbids the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employees are not allowed to bring allegations of rape, assault and other offenses to court, but must instead settle the matter in arbitration. It is based on the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was allegedly drugged, gang-raped and locked in a storage container by co-workers while working for KBR.
Two changes were made to the amendment: The restriction will only apply to companies whose contracts with the government amounts to $1 million or more (which includes most defense contractors). It can also be waived for national security concerns — but the secretary of defense will have to personally explain the waiver.