A surprise attempt to pass the UN Disability treaty in the U.S. Senate last week was thwarted when Senator Mike Lee announced he and 36 other senators object to passing any treaty at this time. The 37 senators are enough to block treaties.
Several senators anticipated that controversial measures like UN treaties would be pushed through in a “lame duck” session between the U.S. elections in November and when a new Congress convenes in January. On Thursday morning, Senators Lee and Pat Toomey circulated a letter for senators to sign stating, “The writers of the Constitution clearly believed that all treaties presented to the Senate should undergo the most thorough scrutiny before being agreed upon.”
With just a few people on the senate floor Thursday evening, Senator Dick Durban tried to pass the Disability treaty by unanimous consent. Sen. Lee responded, “If it is true that it is too fast to move a treaty through during a lame duck, then it’s also too fast to move it through now.”
Supporters and opponents agree the treaty does not improve existing U.S. laws. Some people with disabilities see it as a step to gaining acceptance and view opposition as a personal insult.
Others fear that a treaty intended to integrate disabled people into communities could exclude pre-born babies – particularly those with a disability – by permitting abortion.
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