Our View: Senate stumbles on disability treaty

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Bob Dole, former Sen-

ate majority leader and onetime Republican presidential nominee, returned to the Senate floor Tuesday -- now 89 years old and in a wheelchair -- to make a plea for his fellow Republicans to vote for an international treaty to ban discrimination against people with disabilities.

How painful it must have been for the disabled World War II veteran, who championed the Americans With Disabilities Act a generation ago, to watch his request fall on deaf ears in a stunning display of the politics of expediency at the expense of decency.

The Senate vote failed to support the the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed by the United States in 2009 and already ratified by most other nations, because some Republicans hate and fear the United Nations. The vote was 61 in favor and 38 against; 66 votes were needed to approve it.

The opponents argued that the treaty could permit the United Nations to trump state laws and override parents of disabled children, who, for example, wanted to home-school their children. They have an overrated view of the U.N.'s power and organizational ability.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., pointed out repeatedly that the treaty was based on the Americans With Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990 under a Republican president, George H.W. Bush. He looked sadly at his old friend Dole, pleading, "Don't let Sen. Bob Dole down."

But the Senate did. All 51 Democrats and two independents voted for the treaty, but only Republicans John McCain of Arizona, a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire supported it. Lugar, Brown and Snowe will not be in the Senate next year.

More than 165 disabilities advocacy groups have endorsed the treaty, whose provisions largely mirror those that have been law in the United States for more than 20 years. Its rejection, for spurious reasons, is regrettable.

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  • How about more handicap parking spaces around the "Portage County Discount House of Justice". 2 handicap spaces around the county courthouse and war memorial is not enough. Maybe the Record Courier could investigate why only 2 spaces. I think someone is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act in Portage County. Looks like a federal lawsuit waiting to be filed. We don't need the U.N. We can't even apply the law in Ravenna.

  • **** Republicans!!

  • Well, there is one less handout those 47% are gonna get. Mr. Bob Dole, a disabled war veteran, will just have to be less dependent on his government. Right? Mr. Romney? We could save big bucks if we shut down the V.A. hospitals next. Kind of funny how Republicans who are done in a month vote the other way and amazing how Mr. McCain does a 180 if it is something that could directly affect him.

  • Seems to me not ratifying this treaty is another example of the children making themselves relevant by being obstructionist even when those things their obstructing are good. These obstructionists will interpret bills and law and treaty whichever way suits them, and they could see the children's rhyme "Mary had a little lamb" as being fraught with **********, so theres no accounting for what goes on inside their heads.

  • The treaty is the same actual law we already have in the United States so ratifying this treaty would have had no impact inside the U.S., and ****, the U.S. has championed this treaty for a very long time, so I guess this is an example of the fruitcakes seeing what they want to see and acting on their self created fictions.

  • The Senate was right to vote down the treaty that would spread abortion, deny the parents of special needs children their rights, and compromise U.S. sovereignty. Article 25 of the CRPD called on nations to furnish the disabled "free reproductive health and population-based public health programmes." which of course is interpreted as abortion.