To the editor:
On Dec. 5, the U.S. Senate voted on ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, that would promote the worldwide extension of the rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. A national coalition of over 300 disability and 21 veteran organizations labored to gain support for the CRPD’s ratification. Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, recently discharged from the hospital, visited the Senate floor to show his support. Many CRPD supporters spoke about Sen. Dole’s work on disability advocacy, and his unfaltering commitment for CRPD ratification.
Although Sen. Jerry Moran was a lead supporter of the CRPD early on, both Moran and Sen. Roberts voted against it. A majority of 66 votes was needed for ratification, but it failed by five votes. Thus, the U.S. failed to join 100-plus progressive nations that already ratified it.
The treaty is one of the least controversial pieces of legislation in Congress, would not change U.S. law or compromise any U.S. authority, and has no funding implications. Ratification would have continued the legacy of leadership America established with the passage of the ADA. The treaty is modeled after the ADA, which was endorsed by Republican President George H.W. Bush and Republican Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.
Kansans must not forget this failure of our elected representatives to support the civil rights of a population of 1 billion people worldwide who are often denied them, and the message that this decision sends to the rest of the world.