Washington, D.C.—Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked a treaty to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities around the world. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was modeled on U.S. law, considered the gold standard on equal opportunity laws for the disabled. It failed by a vote of 61-38. A two-thirds vote is required in the Senate to approve treaties.
“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. The United States is seen as a leader around the world. Today, we had a chance to lead, and we failed because a small group of Republican senators fear the Tea Party more than they care about equality for people with disabilities.
“Today’s vote wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It was about standing up for our heroes – men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield for the United States of America. This treaty was about 57 million Americans who live with a disability. Republicans such as former President George H.W. Bush, Senator McCain and former Senator Bob Dole called on their Republican colleagues to support these Americans. I am saddened those Senators did not listen. Their arguments against the treaty had no basis in fact – the treaty does not change United States law. That is why I plan to bring this treaty up for a vote again in the next Congress. Our wounded veterans and millions more around the world deserve better.”