Secretary Kerry testifies before Senate panel

Secretary of State John Kerry will testify before a Senate committee next week about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Senate Democrats nearly ratified the United Nation’s convention last year, but fell just six votes short. 

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It’s rare that the Senate ratifies treaties because it requires a supermajority — 67 votes — but Democrats thought this one had a possibility since it had the support of former Republican Majority Leader Bob Dole (Kan.).

The treaty promotes equal rights for people with disabilities around the world. Advocates said it was needed for disabled veterans, among others, who travel to countries that don’t have the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires things such as wheelchair ramps. More than 100 other countries have signed onto it.

Some Republicans said they opposed the treaty because it threatened American sovereignty.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) vowed to bring the legislation back to the floor this year. His committee will hear from Kerry on why the United States should ratify it.

Kerry voted for the treaty last year before being confirmed as secretary of State.

Details on this and other Senate hearings follow:

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

- Nov. 19, “Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of Transferring Credit Risk in a Future Housing Finance System”

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building

- Nov. 21, “Housing Finance Reform: Powers and Structure of a Strong Regulator”

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Commerce, Science and Transportation

- Nov. 20, “Soldiers as Consumers: Predatory and Unfair Business Practices Harming the Military Community”

2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Senate Office Building

- Nov. 21, “Nominations”

2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Energy and Natural Resources

Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining

- Nov. 20, “Misc. Public Lands Bills”

3:30 p.m., 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Environment and Public Works

- Nov. 21, “Oversight Hearing: NRC’s Implementation of the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendations and other Actions to Enhance and Maintain Nuclear Safety”

10:15 a.m., 410 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Foreign Relations

Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs

- Nov. 19, “Assessing the Response to Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan”

10:30 a.m., 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

- Nov. 19, “Nominations”

3:30 p.m., 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

- Nov. 21, “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

9:30 a.m., G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging

- Nov. 20, “Dying Young: Why Your Social and Economic Status May Be a Death Sentence in America”

10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

- Nov. 18, “Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies”

3 p.m., 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

- Nov. 19, “Improving Financial Accountability at the Department of Defense”

10:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce

- Nov. 20, “Safeguarding Our Nation’s Secrets: Examining the National Security Workforce”

2 p.m., 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Indian Affairs

- Nov. 20, “Carcieri: Bringing Certainty to Trust Land Acquisitions”

2:30 p.m, 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Judiciary

- Nov. 20, “Judicial Nominations”

2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

- Nov. 21, “Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities”

10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building