Monday, March 24, 2014

The $64,000 Question

On March 22, 2014, Ted Kaufman, a former U.S. Senator from Delaware (2009-2010, served out Joe Biden's term when Biden became Vice President) had an opinion piece in the News Journal (

The thing he said that stood out was -- Senators, who do not want the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to be ratified, do not like the United Nations. We do not know what that number actually is. There are 45 Republicans in the Senate. Of those, six Republicans are on the record as supporting ratification of the CRPD -- Ayotte (NH), Barrasso (WY), Collins (ME), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ) and Murkowski (AK). That leaves 39 Republicans who could be UN haters, but I think not. Senators Hatch (UT), Corker (ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, from TN) and Alexander (TN) have gone on the record as opposing ratification of the CRPD PERIOD. They may or may not have raised the UN in their objections. If they did, it was probably in connection to their fear of the CRPD's impact on sovereignty -- our system of government as spelled out in the Constitution. These three -- Hatch, Corker, Alexander -- we need to scratch off as lost to us.
Others, Republican Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- Risch, Rubio, Johnson, Flake, and Paul -- have raised substantive objections about the CRPD doing such things as expanding abortion rights or weakening sovereignty, but they have not said they flat out oppose UN treaties. Other Senators like Cruz (has sovereignty concerns) and Lee (has concerns about challenges to parents' rights, among other issues) have not done a full assault on the UN. So that is eight Senators who have substantive objections that they have expressed in hearings or the media. These eight represent people to talk to and ask -- what would it take to eliminate their opposition to the CRPD? We need to know.

That leaves 26 Republicans who may or may not have a "no-way" attitude toward a UN treaty. We need a poll of this 26 Senators too.

Here's what I think we will learn. Some of these Senators would like to draft language to address their concerns and be recognized for it. Some would say they will decide once they see the language in a draft resolution on the CRPD. And, maybe one or two Senators will actually say they would not support anything coming from the UN.  What this tells me is that there are at least 34 Republicans who would be willing to help draft a CRPD resolution or read it and then decide, IF THEY WERE APPROACHED by Senators who support the CRPD.

There are 53 Democrats and two Independents who support the CRPD. So, with 61 Senators (53 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 2 Independents) whom we know will vote for the CRPD, we need six more. If the 34 Republicans I mentioned are approached in good faith, I am sure we will find more than six to support ratification. But, FIRST, they need to be asked to help and then be given the time to read a draft.

We can do this.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

No comments:

Post a Comment