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Another Cliff

© Stuart Carlson

Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole came to the Senate floor in a wheelchair last Tuesday to make a personal appeal for lawmakers to ratify a UN treaty to protect the rights of the disabled. Even Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) said that veterans he had visited “expressed without reservation that their lives would be advanced in the event that we are able to pass this treaty because their treatment in other countries would improve as other countries adopt principles that we have found useful, a practical means of helping the disabled.”

Ratification of the treaty would not impose any new regulations on the US. In fact, the treaty was largely based on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) that was signed into law by George H. W. Bush in 1990.

And ratifying the treaty would be good for US businesses. Even the US Chamber of Commerce likes the treaty, even though they opposed the original ADA, because it would put US companies on an even footing with foreign companies, and thus improve our competitiveness.

But no matter, because after Dole was wheeled out of the chamber — and even with every Democrat voting yes — only 8 Republicans voted for ratification (in addition to Lugar, John McCain, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte voted in favor). Treaties require a two-thirds vote so it was defeated by the remaining 38 GOP senators voting no.

We should remind them of this the next time they claim they are supporting our troops, or that they are pro-business. Or the next time Republicans wonder why the opinion of the US around the world took a nose dive when they were in power.

© Jack Ohman



  1. Hieronymus wrote:

    As the father of a disabled child, this disgusts me more than any of the other stunts pulled by the GOP this year. This should have been the easiest vote to pass.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 2:37 am | Permalink
  2. Scott Segraves wrote:

    Shame there wasn’t time for a Jon Stewart treatment of this before the vote. He single-handedly shamed the G-No-P gaggle into coming around to the idea we really SHOULD do something for 9/11 first responders whose health had been destroyed by their service that day.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  3. il-08 wrote:

    I find it amazing that our most effective political policy shifter is Jon Stewart…

    Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  4. just me wrote:

    OK… I’m just gonna say it. I’ve been biting my tongue long enough… they are just plain old assholes.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  5. TJ wrote:

    I don’t even understand the motivation for the NO vote. Granted I have not heard of this before, but the way you described it, it sounds like a no-brainer to vote YES.

    What is the political motivation behind their position?

    Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 1:14 am | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    TJ, from what I gathered, the 38 senators who voted against it believed that this would, somehow, compromise US sovereignty and put the UN in charge of how we treat our disabled people. Another thought was that since China and Russia were signatories, we didn’t want to be seen in the company of them.

    As IK points out, this is insane. The treaty was more or less identical to the ADA, and as with most UN treaties, doesn’t have much in the way of teeth (now it makes sense why China and Russia could sign and ratify it) that would force anything on the US.

    In short, just a(nother) conservative paranoia/stupidity issue.

    Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 1:56 am | Permalink
  7. rk wrote:

    I wonder if the issue relates to companies that have public-oriented shops or services overseas. These may have higher costs if this went through. Would Disneyland in France, for instance, would undergo some costs if this passed?

    Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink