Despite Dole appearance, Senate fails to ratify disabilities treaty
December 4th, 2012
01:56 PM ET
2 years ago

Despite Dole appearance, Senate fails to ratify disabilities treaty

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans blocked ratification of a United Nations treaty aimed at promoting the rights of disabled people around the world, despite an appearance on the Senate floor by former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, in a wheelchair, making a last-minute effort to garner GOP support.

Conservatives warned it might allow the U.N. to impinge on the rights of disabled people and their families in the United States.

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The measure - known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - needed 67 votes for ratification but only got 61.

Dole, the 89-year-old former Republican senator from Kansas who is disabled from a war injury, lobbied his GOP colleagues in a last-ditch effort to persuade more Republicans to back the treaty.
After the vote, the hallways around the Senate floor were crowded with disability advocates angry and saddened by the defeat.

Supporters of the measure – which included Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona – argued ratification wouldn't impact rights in the U.S. but would help promote the rights of the disabled overseas.

"This treaty is about the behavior of other countries and their willingness to raise their treatment of people with disabilities to our level. It's that simple," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "This isn't a treaty about changing America. It's a treaty to change the world to be more like America."


Filed under: Robert Dole • Senate
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Peter

    It would be wiser to amend the American's with Disabilities Act which is an American law then to sign a treaty that takes away American sovereignty. Hopefully, Congress will look into amending the current law sometime soon.

    December 4, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    What a sad, pathetic group of people. Yet they CLAIM they are Christians. I'm not surprised. The same type of men that held the bible in one hand while raping their female slaves, all in the name of Christianity.

    The GOP gives religion a bad name.

    How ANYONE would want to be labeled one of these things is completely beyond my understanding.

    December 4, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Jerry D

    You know if even John McCain wanted this to pass, that the R Party is just flexing their angry schoolboy muscle against Our President with this move. I want ANY of the folks who voted no to face an injured Veteran when they come home and tell them they are not as important as an able-bodied American. I am sure NONE of them have the guts to do so, but they would welcome any of the Veterans to campaign for their re election. The R Party has become a disgusting waste of energy and power in America, and needs to be removed NOW!!!!

    December 4, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Katie

    To be fair, the allowed the government to decide the medical treatment for minors. How would you feel if you had a mentally disabled daughter and the government decided that since she doesn’t have the capacity to take care of a child at any point in her life that they are going to forcibly remove her uterus and you had no say in the matter?

    December 4, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "It would be wiser to amend the American's with Disabilities Act which is an American law then to sign a treaty that takes away American sovereignty. Hopefully, Congress will look into amending the current law sometime soon."

    1. This treaty had absolutely ZERO effect on American law and would give NO POWER OR AUTHORITY TO ANY OUTSIDE BODIES WHATSOEVER in terms of the American legal system. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. All the agencies would be doing is making recommendations.

    December 4, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    2. The entire treaty was MODELLED AFTER THE ADA in the first place. This was America's opportunity to tell the international community "Yes, yes, YES!!! Please emulate what we do here in the US and make every effort to follow our example in trying to treat the disabled with respect and acknowleedge their rights. Copy us....let us LEAD you in this!!!!" Instead, the GOP/Teatrolls squandered the opportunity to lead.

    December 4, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Sammi730

    To paraphrase Sen. John Kerry's statement, this treaty is about bringing the United Nations member countries closer to the American ideal...not impinging on disabled Americans' rights! The Republicans who voted against this treaty have the continued disdain of this disabled American!!

    December 4, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Indie in VA

    Treaties don't take away sovereignty. The standing to create a treaty proves sovereignty. Do NONE of the GOP folks understand that basic tenet of political science?

    December 4, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    3. Lastly, know what the GOPers/Teatrolls gave as an excuse for not ratifying the treaty? They opined, based on tinfoil hatted paranoia, conspiracy theories and blatant misinterpretation of the law, that this would potentially lead to people in the US who home school their children being attacked by the internation community. Seriously. I'm not kidding. They invented nonsense about this endangering the home-schooling movement to jsutify voting down an international treaty modeled entirely on the Americans with Disabiolities Act.

    December 4, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Malcolm in St Louis

    name and shame them, those angry old GOPers.

    December 4, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Kevin H

    The important thing is that we all acknowledge that anyone doesn't think the way we do is stupid and evil. Anyone that doesn't agree with my ideology is obviously a person acting with bad intent.

    Look who I am writing to....you all clearly know that. And you practice it in your daily lives....

    December 4, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Brian from DC

    The GOP thinks the disabled don't vote, just like the hispanics, women, gays, blacks, etc. etc. Is it 2014 yet??

    December 4, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Katie

    The entire treaty was MODELLED AFTER THE ADA in the first place.
    --
    The Federal Government doesn't decide medical treatments for minors with disabilities instead of their parents.

    December 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Dan

    The GOP is being smothered by their own rigid, overly simplistic ideology. They've spent so much time and effort tearing down the U.N. that they cannot support anything coming from it, at least not without looking foolish.

    Its embarrassing.

    December 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Lee

    Disabled must be part of the 47 percent

    December 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "To be fair, the allowed the government to decide the medical treatment for minors. How would you feel if you had a mentally disabled daughter and the government decided that since she doesn’t have the capacity to take care of a child at any point in her life that they are going to forcibly remove her uterus and you had no say in the matter?"

    This treaty did nothing of the sort and that would never fly in the UN, which has already created numberous treaties regarding human rights that would be violated by the scenario you just described. Whatever you read or whoever spoke that absurd idea to you is purposefully trying to scare you with horrible misinformation. Nobody is goingto have their uterus forcibly removed because of this treaty. This treaty essentially took the Americans with Disabilities Act and used it as a template for an international agreement to promote and protect the rights of the disabled, not take them away.

    December 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Bocephus Moonshine

    You see, Republicans don't support wounded veterans, even when they're current and former senators.

    December 4, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Sueb

    Perhaps the republicans who voted against this treaty should have to live in a wheelchair for a month–like I and so many others have to do....but of course they'd have the luxury of being able to get out of it after 30 days. Hey, a ramp is too expensive to build....you don't need to see what's in the store! No elevator, what do you need to go up to the second floor for any way! Aisle too narrow to fit a wheelchair through...big deal!!!!

    December 4, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "The Federal Government doesn't decide medical treatments for minors with disabilities instead of their parents."

    Nobody would be doing so under the treaty either. Seriously. You're either intentionally trying to spread misinformation or a very confused and misinformed person experiencing an unhealthy level of delusional paranoia and tinfoil hat fear. Stop believing everything you're told by Teatrolls, Faux News, and Bircher-esque conspiracy theorists liek World Net Daily. No agency or body created under the treaty would have any power or authority to enforce anything and would simply have made recommendations based on current medical standards, standards borrowed from the ADA and current international standards regarding human rights. In other words, nobody is going to be forcibly neutered or spayed like an animal under this thing. Such accusations reveal a gross misunderstanding of this treaty and US and international law.

    December 4, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The UN has no authority in the U.S. None. Nor should it have any.

    December 4, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Sueb

    Forgive my second post; but, this is obviously an important subject for me. For those of you who think we have the ADA–that's enough...I lived in Bloomington, IN for 5 years. The Monroe country library was fantastic! Then they renovated–made the aisles narrower so that I couldn't get around. When contacted the head of the library said "we measured, we meet the ADA minimums"....I never went to the library again.

    December 4, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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