sen. inouye is the third-longest-serving u.s. senator

Last week, Senator Daniel Inouye became the third-longest-serving senator in U.S. history, a landmark for the powerful lawmaker who has held a seat in Congress for as long as Hawaii has been a state: Hawaii Sen. Inouye moves up in seniority.

That's 47 years -- a career that has included being a member of the Watergate investigative committee in the 1970s, chairman of the Iran-Contra probe in the 1980s, and current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Inouye is the first Japanese American to serve in both the Senate and House of Representatives. He was Hawaii's first full member in the House of Representatives when he took office the same day the islands became a state 50 years ago, on August 21, 1959. Three years later, he was elected to the Senate.

With 17,095 days in the Senate, Inouye trails only West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd and the late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in career longevity. Inouye will catch up with Thurmond in eight months, and he's still about four years behind the 91-year-old Byrd. More here: Clinton Hearts Inouye, on Senate Floor.

It's a huge milestone for a political icon who has served the United States, with many amazing, historic accomplishments. But wait. There's recently been an issue that's getting Senator Inouye some negative attention...

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... by Senator Dan Inouye: Franken's Anti-Rape Amendment May Be Stripped By Senior Dem, Sources Say.

Inouye is reportedly considering removing or altering the provision, which was offered by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and passed by the Senate several weeks ago. According to multiple sources, Inouye's office has been lobbied by defense contractors adamant that the language of the Franken amendment would leave them overly exposed to lawsuits and at constant risk of having contracts dry up.

The Senate is considering taking out a provision known as the Title VII claim, which (if removed) would allow victims of assault or rape to bring suit against the individual perpetrator but not the contractor who employed him or her. More here: Franken's anti-rape amendment in trouble?

Could this really happen? Could massive lobbying from defense contractors really derail this amendment, which seems like a no-brainer? Senator Inouye, are we really going to prioritize defense contracts over the rights of sexual assault victims?

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