Despite an in-person plea from former presidential nominee and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-KS) the Senate failed to ratify a U.N. treaty that would extend rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act internationally.
The treaty required 2/3 of the Senate to ratify and failed by a vote of 61-38 largely because many Republicans said that it could give cover to other countries with poor human rights efforts and could threaten U.S. sovereignty.
“I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
The 89-year-old Dole, who lost use of his right arm during World War II, was recently released from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He appeared in a wheelchair in the chamber with his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC).
Dole played a key role in passing the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and former colleagues from both parties paid tribute to him.
“More than a dear friend, Bob remains authentic hero to millions of his countrymen. Someone whose personal example of wartime sacrifice was equaled, if such a thing is possible, by his service in this body and is respected wherever people value political courage and civility,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
“In the nearly 30 years I’ve been here, I think this is the first time I’ve seen a former Majority leader of the United States Senate come to the senate floor for a vote. ” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. “This is about people, this treaty helps thousands of vets. Men and women who paid the price of devotion to our country with limbs.”
The U.N. treaty was based on the ADA and was negotiated during President George W. Bush’s administration with President Obama signing it in 2009. According to the United Nations, an estimated 10 percent of the world’s population is disabled.