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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes a point about his meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the country's debt ceiling, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington May 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STA
Continuing to shame the nation.
Even China and Russia have done what 38 Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, refuse to do: ratify a UN treaty on the rights of the disabled. Treaty ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote, this one failed 61-38.
The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty.

The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty during the lame-duck session of the Congress and warned that the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty.

"I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Sen. Mike Lee "argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty," and that because it includes language about providing equal access to reproductive health care to disabled people, it would lead to abortion. Because everything the UN does involves either black helicopters or abortion in the fevered brains of the tea party Republicans who now rule their party. Here's the roll call of the vote.

And the international embarrassment that is the U.S. Republican Party continues.

12:55 PM PT: Sen. Harry Reid responds to the vote:

“It is a sad day when we cannot pass a treaty that simply brings the world up to the American standard for protecting people with disabilities because the Republican party is in thrall to extremists and ideologues. The United States is seen as a leader around the world. Today, we had a chance to lead, and we failed because a small group of Republican senators fear the Tea Party more than they care about equality for people with disabilities.

“Today’s vote wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It was about standing up for our heroes – men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield for the United States of America. This treaty was about 57 million Americans who live with a disability. Republicans such as former President George H.W. Bush, Senator McCain and former Senator Bob Dole called on their Republican colleagues to support these Americans. I am saddened those Senators did not listen. Their arguments against the treaty had no basis in fact – the treaty does not change United States law. That is why I plan to bring this treaty up for a vote again in the next Congress. Our wounded veterans and millions more around the world deserve better.”

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by KosAbility and Daily Kos.

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