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) MenendezSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Bottom line 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 AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (R-N.H.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' 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 AlexanderDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline MORE (R-Tenn.) at the time blamed bad timing for his “no” vote, and Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.) changed his vote from “yes” to “no” after it became clear the treaty wouldn't pass.

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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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