Granite State Independent Living Advocacy Alert

December 6, 2012
Source: Granite State Independent Living

Senate Fails to Pass Disability Rights Treaty

But All May Not Be Lost


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was voted upon by the U.S. Senate at 12pm yesterday.  The vote by the Senate was the last roadblock to U.S. ratification of the CRPD.  It is required that 2/3 (or 66) of the Senators vote in favor of ratifying a treaty in order to do so, and unfortunately this required supermajority was not achieved.  With 61 votes in favor and 38 votes against, the treaty fell just 5 votes short of ratification.

This is very disappointing news.  Using the Americans with Disabilities Act as its model, the CRPD suggests that the world follow the leadership of the U.S. in promoting equal opportunity for people with disabilities.  The disability community has worked long and hard to move the CRPD through the process of ratification by the United States.  CRPD ratification was initiated by President George W. Bush when he was in office and was then moved forward by President Obama when he came into office.  Once signed the treaty was then sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification.  During the summer of 2012, ratification was recommended by a good margin in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.  Last week the CRPD finally made it onto the floor of the Senate for debate and vote.

Despite the positive input of every disability and veteran related national organization you could think of, despite strong bipartisan support, despite impassioned pleas to vote for ratification by the most respected Senators, despite the fact that the treaty would require no changes to U.S. law, and despite the fact that well over 100 countries have already ratified the treaty, 38 Republican Senators voted against ratifying the CRPD.  Sadly they chose to believe

However, all is not lost!  You can be proud of the work you here in NH have done to advocate for ratification of the CRPD.  During the course of the last year you were able to move Senator Kelly Ayotte from her long standing opposition to the CRPD to voting in favor of it yesterday.  Great work!  And thank you Senator Ayotte for listening to your constituents.  Thank you also to Senator Jeanne Shaheen for supporting the CRPD from the beginning.  In addition, there is a good chance the CRPD will reappear in the Senate again in 2013, as Majority Leader Reid and other ranking members of the Senate have indicated they would like to take it up again.

So, stay tuned for more information on the CRPD and thank you for all of your hard work on it.  If you have a moment please consider sending a quick thank you to Senators Shaheen and Ayotte for their support of the CRPD.