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Disability Treaty Downed by GOP Opposition

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Disability Treaty Downed By Republican Opposition

By JIM ABRAMS 12/04/12 07:10 PM ET EST AP

 

WASHINGTON -- Led by Republican opposition, the Senate on Tuesday rejected a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled that is modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.

With 38 Republicans casting "no" votes, the 61-38 vote fell five short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a treaty. The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty.

The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty during the lame-duck session of the Congress and warned that the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty.

"I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

He and other opponents were not swayed by support for the treaty from some of the GOP's prominent veterans, including the 89-year-old Dole, who was disabled during World War II; Sen. John McCain, who also suffered disabling injuries in Vietnam; Sen. Dick Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee; and former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Eight Republicans voted to approve the treaty.

The treaty also was widely backed by the disabilities community and veterans groups.

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the vote disappointing and noted that President Barack Obama had declared, in a written statement read in tribute to Dole just before the vote, that "disability rights should not stop at our nation's shores."

Carney said the White House hopes the treaty can be reconsidered in the next Congress.

Democratic support for the convention was led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, one of the key players in writing the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It really isn't controversial," Kerry, D-Mass., said. "What this treaty says is very simple. It just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled. It says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years ago when we set the example for the world and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act."

In a statement after the vote, Kerry said it was "one of the saddest days I've seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that's letting down the American people."

The ADA put the United States in the forefront of efforts to secure equal rights for the disabled, and it became the blueprint for the U.N. treaty, formally the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The treaty was negotiated by the George W. Bush administration. It was completed in 2006 and Obama signed it in 2009.

The United Nations estimates that 650 million people around the world are disabled, about 10 percent of the world's population.

Kerry and other backers stressed that the treaty requires no changes in U.S. law, that a committee created by the treaty to make recommendations has no power to change laws and that the treaty cannot serve as a basis for a lawsuit in U.S. courts.

They said the treaty, by encouraging other countries to emulate the rights and facilities for the disabled already existing in the United States, would be of benefit for disabled Americans, particularly veterans, who want to work, travel or study abroad.

Supporters also rejected the argument that it was inappropriate to consider an international treaty in a post-election lame-duck session. They said that since the 1970s the Senate had voted to approve treaties 19 times during lame-duck sessions.

But in September, 36 Republican senators signed a letter saying they would not vote for any treaty during the lame duck,

The opposition was led by tea party favorite Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty. Specifically he expressed concerns that the treaty could lead to the state, rather than parents, determining what was in the best interest of disabled children in such areas as home schooling, and that language in the treaty guaranteeing the disabled equal rights to reproductive health care could lead to abortions. Parents, Lee said, will "raise their children with the constant looming threat of state interference."

Supporters said such concerns were unfounded.

"I am frankly upset," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., "that they have succeeded in scaring the parents who home-school their children all over this country." He said he said his office had received dozens of calls from home-schooling parents urging him to vote against the convention.

The conservative Heritage Action for America urged senators to vote no against the treaty, saying it would be recorded as a key vote on their scorecard. It repeated the argument that the treaty "would erode the principles of American sovereignty and federalism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/disability-treaty_n_2238181.html

 

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:53 AM
Replies (11-20):
Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM


Quoting mikiemom:

Sigh, this makes our country look really bad. This is a shame that folks don't understand how the greater globe works.

this isn't the first thing that comes to mind that makes our country look bad, lol

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM


Quoting ILive4This:

"I am frankly upset," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., "that they have succeeded in scaring the parents who home-school their children all over this country." He said he said his office had received dozens of calls from home-schooling parents urging him to vote against the convention.

The conservative Heritage Action for America urged senators to vote no against the treaty, saying it would be recorded as a key vote on their scorecard. It repeated the argument that the treaty "would erode the principles of American sovereignty and federalism.



Scaring parents who home school? That should be the very least of their concerns. This could potentially raise abortion numbers.

UgtaBkdnMe
by Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

We have the ADA why do we need this too?

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 11:26 AM
1 mom liked this

We need to support the global effort. This mirrors what we have, it does not change. The people that are against this can't see outside their little boxes. They don't understand world around them.

Quoting UgtaBkdnMe:

We have the ADA why do we need this too?


erika9009
by Bronze Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM
3 moms liked this

If it comes from the UN, it should be an automatic "NO".

This organization has mutated into the self perpetuating monster.

UgtaBkdnMe
by Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM
1 mom liked this

But if it's something we already have it's redundant and unnecessary.

Quoting mikiemom:

We need to support the global effort. This mirrors what we have, it does not change. The people that are against this can't see outside their little boxes. They don't understand world around them.

Quoting UgtaBkdnMe:

We have the ADA why do we need this too?



UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:05 PM


Quoting macbudsmom:

This is silly and unnecessary.  As a country, we already have plenty of ways that we support the disabled and provide them necessary accomodations.


Right, so what is wrong with agreeing that other countries should do the same? Do you understand that it was only an agreement?

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

It's not redundant. It's like signing a petition. For example, say i smoke weed in my home, then i sign a petition saying that i think smoking weed in your own home is okay. That's all this was...us agreeing with the rest of the world that people with disabilities should receive accommodations.

(Pardon the example, it was the first thing i could think of).

Quoting UgtaBkdnMe:

But if it's something we already have it's redundant and unnecessary.

Quoting mikiemom:

We need to support the global effort. This mirrors what we have, it does not change. The people that are against this can't see outside their little boxes. They don't understand world around them.

Quoting UgtaBkdnMe:

We have the ADA why do we need this too?

 



mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

The republican party is burying itself. 

I say good riddence to bad rubbish. 

eema.gray
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM
3 moms liked this

What I got from a friend who has 3 special needs kids, is there was a concern that the U.N. act would allow governments to dictate how special needs children are raised and trump parental decisions such as chosing to treat behavioral disturbances with food and supplements rather than medication.  I DO NOT know if this concern is waranted, it's just what she mentioned.

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