The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

We are disappointed that the overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans today blocked the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which would enshrine American standards that have been developed through decades of bipartisan cooperation.  Ratification would require no changes to U.S. law, as the United States already leads the world in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. However, it would position the United States to support extending across the globe the rights that Americans already enjoy at home. This in turn would improve the lives of Americans with disabilities -- including our wounded service members -- who wish to live, work, and travel abroad.  It would also allow our businesses to operate on a more level playing field and reaffirm American leadership on disability rights.  For these reasons, and others, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and across the country -- as well as disability advocacy groups, wounded warriors, veterans groups and business groups -- have supported this treaty. We commend former Senator Dole and the bipartisan coalition of Senators who worked to secure the treaty resolution’s passage, including Senators Reid, Kerry, Lugar and McCain.  We hope the Senate will reconsider this treaty soon in the next Congress. As President Obama declared in a written statement read in tribute to Senator Dole just before the vote, “disability rights should not stop at our nation's shores.”

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