On Tuesday, July 22, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed on a 12-6 vote, The Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Two years ago the treaty passed in a similar voting style 13-6. Along with the full support of the Democrats, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), and John Barrasso (R-WY), joined in voting, sending the treaty to the Senate floor.
The treaty has continuously been opposed by conservatives who continue to argue on a range of topics they believe deem the treaty unethical including: expansion of abortion rights, threats to certain parental rights, and a shift of power to the federal government from US states. But those for the treaty continue to advocate and dismiss these claims stating they are irrelevant social issues.
The treaty does not aim to put restraints on American citizens; as Chairman Menendez (D-N.J.) said so boldly after the vote, "The Disabilities Treaty is essential to improving the lives of over 1 billion people around the globe with disabilities, as well as the 58 million Americans with disabilities right here at home, including 5.5 million disabled American veterans." So far, the treaty has been ratified by 130 countries and the time to advocate is now. Let’s be the 131st to ratify!
The next steps? The treaty is likely to be moved to the Senate floor next week and can be ratified with a two-thirds majority vote, (67 votes).
Email your Senators directly using the CEC Legislative Action Center and asked them to pass the treaty NOW! A sample letter is provided. Thus far, we DO NOT have enough votes to pass, but with your advocacy efforts, we can obtain the 67 votes needed!
We need to advocate to all Senators but targeted advocacy needs to be directed towards:
Georgia: John Hardy Isakson, Saxby Chambliss
Mississippi: Thad Cochran
Ohio: Rob Portman
North Carolina: Richard Burr
Nebraska: Mike Johanns
Indiana: Dan Coats
Missouri: Roy Blunt
Utah: Orrin Hatch
The ratification effort is still going strong and CEC commends those Senators who continue to back the treaty and believe in its mission.