Harkin: Senate Should Act on Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Following Supreme Court Decision in Bond

June 2, 2014

Senate Author of the ADA Has Helped Lead Fight to Ratify CRPD

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate should act to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) now that the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Bond v. United States, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said today. Harkin is the Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and has helped lead the fight in the Senate to ratify theCRPD. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Bond has removed any possible remaining reason for hesitating to enact the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Court’s decision clearly shows that such a treaty can be ratified, through the use of appropriate reservations, understandings, and declarations, without undermining and, in fact, preserving states’ rights.

“The CRPD would build on the work of the ADA and help to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy equal access around the world. I am hopeful that in working on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues, and by continuing to educate other members on the importance of the treaty, we can get the support we need to ratify the treaty during this Congress.

“The unanimous decision of the Court provides a clear pathway for the Senate to ratify the CRPD and protect states’ rights. We should hold a vote as soon as possible.”

An American delegation under President George W. Bush negotiated and approved the Convention in 2006. The United States signed the treaty in 2009 and submitted it to the U.S. Senate last May for its advice and consent for ratification; a vote on the CRPD fell five votes short in 2012. The treaty requires no changes to U.S. laws or new appropriations.