Senate revives defeated disabilities treaty

The Senate is reviving a UN disabilities treaty opposed by conservative home-schooling advocates following its narrow defeat last year.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Pompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors MORE (D-N.J.) has scheduled a hearing for next week as he seeks to create new momentum for the bipartisan effort. Democrats are doubling down on their outreach to Republicans who support the effort, with Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkAdvocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio Ex-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby MORE (R-Ill.) as their first witnesses.

The treaty fell five votes short of the two-thirds needed for ratification last year but advocates hope they can flip enough Republicans to pass it now that the divisive presidential election is over. Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderFinding a path forward to end surprise medical billing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Republicans make U-turn on health care MORE (R-Tenn.) at the time blamed bad timing for his “no” vote, and Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBiden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe Trump praises Thad Cochran: 'A real senator with incredible values' MORE (R-Miss.) changed his vote from “yes” to “no” after it became clear the treaty wouldn't pass.

The wheelchair-bound Kirk didn't take part in the vote, having suffered a stroke earlier in the year. Personal lobbying by former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kansas) – who attended the vote in his wheelchair on the Senate floor – failed to convince the 13 Republicans needed for ratification last year, but advocates hope a sitting senator will have more sway.

Opposition to the treaty has been spearheaded by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), who argues it could empower UN bureaucrats to challenge U.S. homeschooling. Advocates say the treaty would merely extend the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act to people with disabilities around the world, including Americans living abroad, and have little to no impact on U.S. residents.

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