Republicans blocked Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinFCC needs to help services for the deaf catch up to videoconferencing tech Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE’s (D-Iowa) request to vote on the United Nations' treaty for persons with disabilities.
Harkin asked for unanimous consent to debate the treaty for two hours and then hold an up-or-down vote that would require two-thirds of the Senate’s support for adoption. But Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight MORE (R-Utah) objected.
“Another sad, irresponsible day in the United States Senate,” Harkin said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “There is no controversy over this.
“Is this just another blatant form of discrimination against people with disabilities?”
Harkin pointed out that the treaty has bipartisan support. He said only Tea Party extremist who hate the United Nations oppose it.
Lee said the adoption of any treaty deserves more than two hours of debate and senators should be able to offer amendments.
Two years ago, Senate Republicans blocked the treaty on a 61-38 vote despite former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) lobbying for adoption.
Supporters of the treaty argued that the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities would simply require the rest of the world to meet the standards that Americans already enjoy under the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.
More than 150 other countries have adopted the treaty.
Harkin is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year, but he vowed to never give up on this fight.