Reid urges quick passage of treaty on disability rights

Those supporting the treaty say it’s important for U.S. citizens and veterans with disabilities who travel, study, do business or reside abroad.

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Several lawmakers supporting the convention have cited the support of former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who has been a disability advocate since he injured his arm in World War II.

“There is no finer example of what Americans can achieve with disabilities than Bob Dole,” Reid said on the floor Wednesday. “He was such a force in the Senate, and to think he did it all after being blown up in a war.”

Dole wrote his colleagues a letter Monday saying he supports the CRPD. On Tuesday, the Senate approved a motion to proceed to the treaty on a 61-36 vote. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) are managing the amendment process, which is expected to continue Wednesday.

Some Republicans expressed concern over the treaty, saying they didn’t want international treaties writing U.S. law. But advocates for the treaty have said it’s based on the Americans With Disabilities Act, granting people with disabilities equal rights, meaning U.S. law already follows the treaty.

Reid said it was time for the United States to once again lead the world on disability issues.

“The U.S. must continue to lead by example,” Reid said. “This convention would give us an opportunity to advance our leadership on this around the world.

“We must take the high ground.”

In September, 36 Senate Republicans called on the leaders of both parties not to consider any treaties during the lame-duck session. Their letter said the Constitution clearly envisions giving the Senate ample time to consider all international treaties, and said the brief lame-duck session didn’t provide enough time.