I have been reading the tweets of the opposition to ratification today. They all thank Senator Mike Lee. Today Senator Lee blocked Senator Harkin's unanimous consent request to proceed to debate and a vote on the CRPD. The request would have allowed two hours of debate each for both sides, those for and against ratification. The Harkin request was the SAME ONE OFFERED ON DECEMBER 4, 2012 to which NO ONE OBJECTED.
Many questions are swirling in my head. If Senator Lee did not object then, why did he object today? Do Senator Lee and those who agree with him fear debate? Do they think we will stop trying? Why do they not acknowledge the changes in the CRPD that address their concerns? Why do they dismiss, ignore, or decline overtures to allow amendments to the CRPD resolution? The RIGHT remove for Senator Lee today would have been to amend Senator Harkin's request to allow for floor amendments to address perceived unresolved issues.
The foundation of the opposition has crumbled. They fear they cannot win a fair debate. Their objective is defeating ratification, rather than writing a clear resolution. It is beyond unsettling that people who think like this can win just by stalling a vote.
We must show them that the substance in the CRPD is powerful, consistent with U.S. principles, values, and laws, and will do no harm. To do that we need a debate. To do that we need a vote.
The alternative, no vote, is untenable. The U.S. was not created out of fear of what people could do to each other but out of a promise of what we could do if we worked together and recognized the rights of all.
Everyone knows I want a vote THIS WEEK. Look at all the empty time on the Senate floor today. There is time to debate a CRPD resolution. Senator Harkin's effort is not the end. We have another chance if Senator Majority Leader Reid would schedule a vote. He wants us to wait till after the elections, November 4th. He wants a guarantee of 67 votes before he schedules a vote. I bet there are enough fence sitters to get us to 67 if Senator Reid would schedule a vote between now and Friday. If enough of us suggest it to him maybe he will. His number is 202.224.3542.
If he doesn't agree with us, then read my last blog post. It outlines what we need to do between now and November 12th when the Senate returns.