Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I am approaching a ripe old age, not to be disclosed here. I had the opportunity during my career to work in both the House of Representatives and the Senate when there was much bipartisan cooperation with regard to the development of U.S. disability policy. I would like to see that degree of bipartisanship resurface, at least momentarily, so the Senate ratifies the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

I think the Senate Democrats, Independents, and the six Republicans, who support ratification, are in a unique position to help secure the votes we need. We need 67. By my count we need six more votes.

Each Senator, who supports the CRPD, knows at least one senator who opposes it, I am sure. Each of the former could reach out to one of the latter and ask him what his position is on the treaty. Once they know, they could share the information with Senator Menendez, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This information is a key component of the process to reach ratification.

As I have mentioned in other CRPD posts, senators who have not yet taken a position on the treaty probably fall into one of three camps: 1) those who oppose any UN treaty;  2) those who have specific, often single issue concerns, and want to participate in drafting text on these concerns; and 3) those waiting to see the text of a draft resolution on the CRPD before taking a position.

With such a tally Senator Menendez and his bipartisan partners, who are helping him draft a resolution, would be able to target specific senators and get their input and know which senators are willing to wait to see the final draft.

Hopefully, Senator Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will not be opposed if drafting of a resolution on the CRPD is restarted. Perhaps we should not deluge his office with contacts anymore. That may be something he will appreciate.

The six Republicans who support the CRPD are:  Ayotte (New Hampshire), Barrasso (Wyoming), Collins (Maine), Kirk (Illinois), McCain (Arizona), and Murkowski (Alaska). So I know they will help the Chairman. Senators Barrasso, and McCain are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I suggest everyone contact your Senators regardless of party affiliation.Those Senators who support the treaty should be asked to reach out to someone they know who does not and talk to them about the treaty. At a minimum, they should try to find out how the senator feels about the CRPD, and then report that to Chairman Menendez and the Republicans who are helping him draft a resolution on the CRPD. This should be done as soon as possible. It will be worth it.

Thank you.
Common Grounder