House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in honor of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
"For twenty-three years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been opening doors for tens of millions of Americans, and I was proud to have played a leading role in moving it through Congress in 1990. For too long, people with disabilities had been denied the equal opportunity to participate fully in our society -- both as the result of discrimination and a lack of accessibility in both public and private spaces. Thanks to this historic legislation, barriers to access are disappearing along with misguided attitudes about people with disabilities and their potential to contribute to their communities and to our country.
"As we mark this anniversary, I hope that Congress can take the next step by bringing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities back before the full Senate for a vote on ratification. I was deeply disappointed that the strong bipartisan spirit that facilitated passage of the original Act in 1990, as well as the 2008 ADA Amendments Act, did not extend to the Convention's ratification last year. Advocates for those with disabilities and their families ought not to rest until our country fully commits to this treaty, which would enshrine in international law many of the same protections that the United States pioneered through the Americans with Disabilities Act. It would guarantee the dignity of all people with disabilities as well as their right to participate fully in our economy, our political institutions, and in the management of their own health care. I urge Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Corker to make ratification of the Convention a priority for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this year.
"I join with the more than 50 million Americans who have benefitted from the Americans with Disabilities Act in celebrating its positive effects on our economy and society. Let us continue to ensure that all Americans have the same chance to pursue the opportunities that make our country great."