Senate Rejects UN Disability Treaty
Despite strong support from disability advocacy groups, Republican opposition led the U.S. Senate to reject an international disability rights treaty on Tuesday.
In a vote that fell almost entirely along party lines, supporters were unable to secure the two-thirds majority of senators needed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The treaty calls for greater community access and a better standard of living for people with disabilities worldwide. The measure’s chief supporter, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said that ratifying the treaty would not require any change to U.S. law, but would afford the nation a leadership role in the international community on disability rights issues. What’s more, Kerry said participation would help ensure that Americans with disabilities would have the same protections abroad as they do domestically.
“This treaty is not about changing America, but about America changing the world,” Kerry said just before the vote, adding that the issue had become unnecessarily controversial in the deeply-partisan body. “This treaty is a test of the Senate. It’s a test of whether this body is still capable of voting for change.”
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