Melancon hits at Vitter's rape amendment vote

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) on Monday hit at his campaign opponent Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) for his vote against an amendment earlier this month that will bar federal funds from going to companies that require arbitration for victims of sexual assault. 

Democrats criticized Republicans who voted against the bill this month for being callous towards sexual assault victims. Republicans who voted against the measure slammed it as overreaching and as a political attack on Halliburton, which does not allow its employees to take sexual harassment cases to court.

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"I'm glad the Senate passed this amendment overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support. But I am shocked that David Vitter voted against it," said Melancon in a release. "David Vitter has refused to explain why he voted to allow taxpayer-funded companies to sweep rape charges under the rug. We can only guess what his reasons were."

The third-term congressman linked a petition that says "I am outraged that Senator Vitter voted against the Franken Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill."

The amendment to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill was offered by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) after Jamie Leigh Jones, an employee of a Halliburton subsidiary, was raped by co-workers in Iraq.

According to Jones, security officials put her in a steel container when she tried to report the case. Upon returning to the U.S. she learned that she was unable to take her case to court.

The amendment passed 68-30, with all no votes coming from Republican Senators. Its been reported that Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) may act to strip the provision from the bill.

"Believe it or not, this common sense amendment might not be signed into law...There is no reason in the world why companies that take taxpayer's money should be allowed to sweep rape allegations under the rug," said Melancon. 

Melancon also released a campaign video featuring Jones: 


UPDATED 7:28 p.m.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand responded saying, “In his rush to make this cheap, partisan attack it appears that Charlie Melancon forgot one key point – both President Obama and the Obama-led Defense Department had the exact same position on this amendment as the Republicans. Given his criticism, it’s fair to ask Congressman Melancon – is he also accusing the President of the United States of not caring about victims of sexual assault?”