Sunday, September 28, 2014

CRPD: What Is at Stake?

Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) may be considered by the Senate when it returns November 12th after the mid-term elections. However, it will only happen if we get moving.

Win or lose the same group of Senators will return to Washington, D.C. for a session that will include a break for Thanksgiving and then end sometime in December before Christmas. If a vote does not occur on the CRPD during that time, then it will not be taken up again unless the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee elects to hold hearings, draft a resolution, and successfully gets it voted out of Committee in 2015-2016. Basically, it's a case of starting from scratch for the third time.

The current Chairman, Robert Menendez (D, NJ), if he remains Chairman, may not be thrilled about bringing the CRPD up again because Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA), the man who has done much of the pushing since the spring of 2014, will have retired, and won't be around to help. For Senator Menendez there will be many priorities. The CRPD may not be one of them. Then, there's also the possibility that Republicans will take control of the Senate. They need six more seats. The polls are showing their prospects are good (see That would mean most likely that Senator Bob Corker (R,TN) would become Chairman of the Committee. He opposes ratification of the CRPD. So in all likelihood no action of any kind would happen on the CRPD in 2015-2016.

I offer this background to point out a stark fact -- Senators of both parties need to hear from us now while they are home/before the elections while we have some leverage. What leverage, you say? Democrats are worried about voter turn out in tight races. Republicans are delicately shifting to the center to pick up independent votes in tight races. We can influence voter turn out. We can affect which way independents turn. BUT ONLY IF WE BECOME A VOCAL VOICE IN SUPPORT OF THE CRPD at candidate forums and Senators' town hall meetings. By asking where EVERY Senator stands on the CRPD, and if they are for it, asking if they will ask Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) for a floor vote before Christmas, we can get the CRPD to a vote before Christmas.

Of course such actions/questions will have much more traction and build momentum if we report what we learn on social media and inspire others to do the same. It would be as simple as saying "Senator X supports #CRPD and will ask Senator Reid for a vote" on Twitter.

If you want a full picture of what Senate seats are safe, sort of safe, at risk of being changed, sort of at risk of being changed, or toss ups see the Real Clear Politics map --

I sure hope everyone goes into high gear, goes to events, and starts reporting what they learn on Twitter. We have five weeks to demonstrate our leverage, so let's do so with gusto. Ok?

Thank you.
Common Grounder

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