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Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 in Featured, International, Politics | 26 comments

Dysfunction and Lies: Senate Vote Beyond Shameful

wheelchair in snowUpdated. This is why Congressional approval rating is in the doldrums.

There was a Republican in the White House when Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. And a Republican, Bob Dole (KS), who helped push it through. It was the culmination of a legal movement that got national purchase with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.

On Tuesday, the Senate finally considered a U.N. treaty (two-third vote needed), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, modeled on the ADA.

“This treaty embodied the same goals the United States had in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act – to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and full integration into society,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said in a statement.

In essence, the treaty extends the ADA globally. It has been signed by 153 countries, including China and Russia.

Who negotiated the treaty on behalf of the U.S.? President George W. Bush. (He urged passage in a letter to the Senate, pdftip)

President Barack Obama then signed the treaty in 2009, but treaties must be ratified by the Senate to be binding. Former Sen. and Vice Presidential candidate Dole was on the floor Tuesday, urging the Senate to ratify the treaty; he was in a wheelchair and was accompanied by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). The Washington Post urged passage this weekend in an editorial.

This is not your Senate, or your Republican Party, Mr. Dole.

The Republican members of the U.S. Senate voted it down, 61-38-1.

Those 38 nays? All Republicans who, it seems, cower before the lies of the rabid right.

roll call vote

Lawrence Downes writes:

The vote was a triumph for Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum and others on the hard-right loon fringe, who have been feverishly denouncing the treaty as a United Nations world-government conspiracy to kill disabled children (you can look it up).[hyperlinks added]

The eight Republicans voting “yes”

  1. Kelly Ayotte, NH
  2. John Barrasso, WY
  3. Scott Brown, MA
  4. Susan Collins, ME
  5. Richard Lugar, IN
  6. Lisa Murkowski, AK
  7. John McCain, AZ
  8. Olympia Snowe, ME

Of those eight, who won’t be back in January? Brown, Lugar and Snowe. Lugar spoke in support of the measure:

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, defeated by a Tea Party candidate in the GOP primary last spring, made one of the final speeches of his 36 year Senate career in support of the treaty. “With these provisions, the United States can join the convention as an expression — an expression — of our leadership on disability rights without ceding any of out ability to decide for ourselves how best to address those issues in our laws,” said Lugar.

Kerry and Lugar have been trying to get a vote on this since July. They postponed the vote even though the Rs didn’t have enough votes for a filibuster?

Who to believe?

“It would take a step toward making it easier for disabled Americans to live and work overseas, without impinging on U.S. sovereignty or Congress’ authority to determine our disability laws,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a rising star in the conservative ranks, said in a statement. “Veterans service groups are especially supportive of the treaty, which would help level the playing field for disabled veterans who are abroad.” (RollCall)


“I do oppose the CRPD because I think it does impinge upon our sovereignty,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). “Unelected bureaucratic bodies would implement the treaty and pass so-called recommendations that would be forced upon the United Nations and the U.S. … This would especially affect those parents who home-school their children. … The unelected foreign bureaucrats, not parents, would decide what is in the best interests of the disabled child, even in the home.”


“I and many of my constituents who home-school or send their children to religious schools,” said [Mike Lee (UT)], “have justifiable doubt that a foreign body based in Geneva, Switzerland, should be deciding what is best for a child at home in Utah.” (TMP)


“Today the dysfunction hurt veterans and the disabled, and that’s unacceptable. This treaty was supported by every veterans group in America and Bob Dole made an inspiring and courageous personal journey back to the Senate to fight for it. It had bipartisan support, and it had the facts on its side, and yet for one ugly vote, none of that seemed to matter. We won’t give up on this and the Disabilities Treaty will pass because it’s the right thing to do, but today I understand better than ever before why Americans have such disdain for Congress and just how much must happen to fix the Senate so we can act on the real interests of our country.” (NYT)

Also supporting the treaty: the American Bar Association as well as 21 veterans’ organizations and 165 disabilities groups.

Do you believe their legal analysis or Rick Santorum’s?

I agree with Kerry (for once). This is a very sad day in the history of the Senate.

Corrected: Brown isn’t coming back in January, either.
Photo, Flickr Creative Commons License

Added: States with two “no” votes

  1. Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay   |  Shelby (R-AL), Nay
  2. Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay   |  Isakson (R-GA), Nay
  3. Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Nay   |  Risch (R-ID), Nay
  4. Kansas: Moran (R-KS), Nay   |  Roberts (R-KS), Nay
  5. Kentucky: McConnell (R-KY), Nay   |  Paul (R-KY), Nay
  6. Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay   |  Wicker (R-MS), Nay
  7. Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay   |  Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
  8. South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay   |  Graham (R-SC), Nay
  9. Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay   |  Corker (R-TN), Nay
  10. Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay   |  Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
  11. Utah: Hatch (R-UT), Nay   |  Lee (R-UT), Nay

Added: States with one “no” vote

  1. Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay   |  McCain (R-AZ), Yea
  2. Arkansas: Boozman (R-AR), Nay   |  Pryor (D-AR), Yea
  3. Florida: Nelson (D-FL), Yea   |  Rubio (R-FL), Nay
  4. Indiana: Coats (R-IN), Nay   |  Lugar (R-IN), Yea
  5. Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay   |  Harkin (D-IA), Yea
  6. Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea   |  Vitter (R-LA), Nay
  7. Missouri: Blunt (R-MO), Nay   |  McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
  8. Nebraska: Johanns (R-NE), Nay   |  Nelson (D-NE), Yea
  9. Nevada: Heller (R-NV), Nay   |  Reid (D-NV), Yea
  10. North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay   |  Hagan (D-NC), Yea
  11. North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea   |  Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
  12. Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea   |  Portman (R-OH), Nay
  13. Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea   |  Toomey (R-PA), Nay
  14. South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea   |  Thune (R-SD), Nay
  15. Wisconsin: Johnson (R-WI), Nay   |  Kohl (D-WI), Yea
  16. Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Yea   |  Enzi (R-WY), Nay

Senators voting no on UN treaty

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