WASHINGTON -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday approved, 13-6, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, sending the international agreement to the full Senate for ratification.
The bipartisan vote was a victory for committee chairman John F. Kerry, who enlisted the help of former GOP presidential nominees John McCain and Robert Dole to advocate for US participation in the series of global protocols designed to ensure that disabled individuals have access to public facilities and proper legal protections.
“This was a vote for equality of opportunity, independent living, economic self-sufficiency, and full participation for all people with disabilities both here and abroad,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement.
The treaty, Kerry said, will “protect Americans with disabilities when they leave our shores” and “help export America’s values of non-discrimination against all people living with disabilities.”
He said the vote in committee held special significance because it came on the 22d anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Rather than rest on our laurels, we are voting today to build on its success,” Kerry said.
He said the move was also a fitting tribute to the late Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was a chief sponsor of the domestic legislation two decades ago.
That law for the first time required equal access for the disabled to public facilities.