Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tea Party Votes "Nay" on Disability Treaty, Citing U.N. Takeover of Homeschooling


New York Times Story
Former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas sat slightly slumped in his wheelchair on the Senate floor on Tuesday, staring intently as Senator John Kerry gave his most impassioned speech all year, in defense of a United Nations treaty that would ban discrimination against people with disabilities.
The measure, which required two-thirds support for approval, failed on a vote of 61 to 38.

Roll Call on Vote with List of Names

It's official. The Republicans hate the U.N. more than they like helping people in wheelchairs. How did this happen?
~ John Stewart on The Daily Show

. . . one of the saddest days I've seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that's letting down the American people.
~ Senator John Kerry D-MA

One of the things that I thought was most sad about yesterday was here’s a veteran of World War II (Bob Dole), grievously wounded in that war, who spent a lifetime proving to Americans that injuries didn’t need to stop you from living a completely fulfilled and productive life, who had to fight like crazy to come back from those wounds. And he’s on the floor, this man who defended American sovereignty, and yet people were there suggesting somehow that he was there less than to defend America’s sovereignty with this vote. To me, that was just such an amazing slap in the face and a contradiction.
~ Senator John Kerry, R-MA, on Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC

It is a sad day when we cannot pass a treaty that simply brings the world up to the American standard for protecting people with disabilities because the Republican Party is in thrall to extremists and ideologues.
~ Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid D-NV

I am frankly upset that they have succeeded in scaring the parents who home school their children all over this country.
~ Senator Chris Coons, D-DE, who voted Yea on the bill

We were hopeful that with the election, the Republican Party would have reached out the disability constituency. Instead of broadening their base, they simply pandered to the extremist part of their party and it was a slap in the face for our constituency.
~ Bruce Darling, organizer for the Disability Group ADAPT

Wounded war veterans and disabled Americans had gathered just outside the Senate chamber expecting to celebrate a win, Foreign Policy magazine reported. ”That was one of most shameful moments I’ve witnessed during my time in Washington,” one longtime senior Senate aide told the magazine. “I thought it was utterly appalling.”


I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session.
~ Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, who voted against the Treaty

(The vote against the treaty) halted our possible descent down the rabbit hole of international ‘entitlement rights’—which could have serious consequences for domestic law.
~ Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, via MSNBC

. . . the Senate made the right decision by rejecting the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
. . . (One) example of this U.N. overreach is the treaty’s “best interests of the child” standard, which states in full: “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” This provision is lifted from the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was also not ratified by the United States Senate. This would put the state, under the direction of the U.N., in the position of determining what is in the best interest of a disabled child, replacing the parents who have that power under current U.S. law.
. . . We should be telling the U.N., not the other way around, how to ensure dignity and respect for the disabled.
~ Rick Santorum on Daily Beast

Rick Santorum was just not factual. Now what he did was he gave some people here an excuse to hide behind ... when they know that there are people who hate the United Nations, who don't want any United Nations treaty, and so they gave them a reason to be able to say, ‘this is why I'm voting against it.'
. . . He either simply hasn’t read the treaty or doesn't understand it or he was just not factual in what he said. because the United Nations has absolutely zero, zero, I mean zero ability to order or to tell or to even - I mean they can suggest - but they have no legal capacity to tell the United States to do anything under this treaty. Nothing.
~ Senator John Kerry D-MA on CNN

President-unelect Rick Santorum made his triumphant return to the Capitol on Monday afternoon and took up a brave new cause: He is opposing disabled people.
Specifically, Santorum, joined by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, declared his wish that the Senate reject the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities — a human rights treaty negotiated during George W. Bush’s administration and ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
. . . And although the number of senators who actually oppose the treaty — such as Lee, Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.) — is probably quite small, Lee’s boast of 36 signatures means he has persuaded enough of his colleagues to block action, at least temporarily. (Treaties require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass.)
~ Dana Milbank in The Salt Lake Tribune

Santorum Strikes Again
. . . Since more than 125 countries have already signed onto the treaty, there will certainly be pressure to improve accessibility to buses, restrooms and public buildings around the globe. It would be nice if the United States was at the table, trying to make sure the international standards were compatible with the ones our disabled citizens learn to handle here at home.
But, no, the senators were worried about the home-school movement. Or a boilerplate mention in the treaty of economic, social and cultural rights that Senator Mike Lee of Utah claimed was “part of a march toward socialism.”
. . . The big worry was, of course, offending the Tea Party. The same Tea Party that pounded Mitt Romney into the presidential candidate we came to know and reject over the past election season. The same Tea Party that keeps threatening to wage primaries against incumbents who don’t do what they’re told. The Tea Party who made those threats work so well in the last election that Indiana now has a totally unforeseen Democratic senator.
The threat the Republicans need to worry about isn’t in the United Nations.

~ Gail Collins in The New York Times


I have heard from thousands of my constituents, especially parents who home school their children, who are concerned that the treaty will be used to interfere with the ability of parents with disabled children to decide what action is in the best interest of their children. Unelected, foreign bureaucrats, not parents, would decide what is in the best interests of the disabled child, even in the home. These are just some of the reasons why the Senate was right to reject yet another power-grab effort by the UN.
~ From the official website of Jim Inhofe R-OK, on why he wouldn't sign the Disability Treaty

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