Not even the presence of Bob Dole on the Senate floor could persuade more than a handful of Republicans to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A resolution to express the Senate's advice and consent to ratification failed today by five votes (61-38). As Senate majority leader Harry Reid said, "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." Moderate Republicans all supported ratification, but they were greatly outnumbered by those Republican senators who believe that the U.S. will somehow be harmed by agreeing to any international human rights treaty, even one that reflects the principles of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Dole, a former senator and Republican presidential nominee, has been disabled since 1945 when he was hit by German machine gun fire during combat in Italy. He was instrumental in the passage of the ADA and has been a strong supporter of CRPD ratification. Josh Rogin reported that his appearance on the Senate floor today was intended to force Republicans intent on voting against the treaty to walk past him to do so, but the vote occurred after Dole, in a wheelchair, left the floor.
Senator John Kerry's impassioned speech on behalf of ratification is worth watching: