On Dec. 4, the U.S. Senate voted down ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The Convention, already ratified by 126 countries worldwide, is designed to help protect the 700 million-odd people on the planet with a disability from discrimination and to improve their access to education, services, and employment. It’s based on the language and ideals of the path-breaking Americans with Disabilities Act—which was shepherded through the Senate 22 years ago by Republican Senator and World War II hero Bob Dole, then the Senate majority leader.
Dole, now 89 and confined to a wheelchair, was back on the Senate floor to watch Tuesday’s debate. Dole had implored his fellow Republicans to ratify the treaty, which required two-thirds of the Senate’s support. But 38 of them voted against it, ensuring its defeat.