Monday, December 10, 2012

U.S. Senate Fails to Approve Disabilities Treaty

The U.S. Senate recently failed to approve a treaty set forth by the United Nations that would call for treatment of people with disabilities around the world to be similar to the way Americans with disabilities are treated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Two-thirds approval was required to approve the treaty, which came up a few votes short.

All Democrats in the Senate voted to approve the treaty as did eight Republicans. Making matters worse, former Senator Bob Dole, a disabled veteran and wheelchair user was on hand to support the treaty. He received re-assurances from many Republicans that they would vote to approve the treaty. Once he left the Senate floor so voting could commence, those same Republicans whispered "NO" votes. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas spoke in favor of the treaty at a press conference with Senator John McCain in May, and subsequently voted "NO". Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi voted "YES" at the beginning of the voting and changed his vote to "NO" later in the voting. The reasoning used by those who voted "NO" is that this treaty would somehow affect U.S. sovereignty and the U.N. treaty would somehow trump state laws regarding the treatment of children with disabilities. The failure to approve this treaty is an unfortunate setback in the expansion of rights for people with disabilities worldwide.

To read more about the outcome of the vote, check out the following links:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/us/despite-doles-wish-gop-rejects-disabilities-treaty.html?_r=0
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/182603761.html?refer=y
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/opinion/perspectives/986456-465/downie-profiles-in-cowardice-over-disabilities-vote.html

To see the breakdown of Senate votes, check out the following link:
http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/112/senate/2/219?ref=us

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