U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today opposed ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty proposed by the United Nations:
"Our Founding Fathers entrusted the Senate with the responsibility of ratifying treaties," Johanns said. "This is a responsibility none of us should take lightly. While I applaud the intent of protecting the rights of the disabled, we have established laws that do so in our country and I still have serious reservations about this treaty's potential impact on U.S. sovereignty, parental rights and the sanctity of life."
Senators unfortunately did not have the opportunity to address these concerns because amendments were not allowed.
Johanns, along with 35 other Senators, signed a letter in September requesting that, "no treaties be brought to the Senate floor for advice and consent during the lame-duck session." The letter highlighted the need for "thorough scrutiny" of international agreements -- something that would be difficult during the lame duck session considering Congress' already lengthy list of unfinished business that must be completed before the year's end, including work on the fiscal cliff.
The United States has a number of federal laws in place to protect and advance the rights of Americans with disabilities, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990, the Fair Housing Act and several others.
The treaty, which required 67 votes, was not ratified.