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Senate GOP Blocks UN Treaty on Disability Rights
September 17, 2014
Source: The Hill
Republicans blocked Senator Tom Harkin’s (Democrat - Iowa) request to vote on the United Nations’ treaty for persons with disabilities.
Harkin asked for unanimous consent to debate the treaty for two hours and then hold an up-or-down vote that would require two-thirds of the Senate’s support for adoption. But Senator Mike Lee (Republican - Utah) objected.
"Another sad, irresponsible day in the United States Senate,” Harkin said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “There is no controversy over this. Is this just another blatant form of discrimination against people with disabilities?”
Harkin pointed out that the treaty has bipartisan support. He said only Tea Party extremist[s] who hate the United Nations oppose it.
Lee said the adoption of any treaty deserves more than two hours of debate and senators should be able to offer amendments.
Two years ago, Senate Republicans blocked the treaty on a 61-38 vote despite former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (Republican - Kansas) lobbying for adoption.
Supporters of the treaty argued that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would simply require the rest of the world to meet the standards that Americans already enjoy under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
More than 150 other countries have adopted the treaty.
Harkin is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year, but he vowed to never give up on this fight.
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