Harkin Applauds Committee Approval of CRPD, Urges Full Senate Consideration

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today applauding the approval of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and urging its consideration by the full Senate. Harkin is the Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has helped lead the fight in the Senate to ratify the CRPD. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

“Today’s Foreign Relations Committee vote is a critical step forward to ensure that people with disabilities across the globe have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else,” Harkin said. “Since the passage of the ADA, the doors of opportunity have been opened to millions of Americans with disabilities. For the U.S. to live up to its role as a global leader on disability rights, we must extend the promise of equality across the globe and bring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to a vote by the full Senate as soon as possible.

“In an increasingly global economy, U.S. citizens with disabilities— including our veterans—too often face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, or reside overseas. Approving this measure would help to break down those barriers,” Harkin added. “I thank Chairman Bob Menendez for his leadership on leading the CRPD to passage by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senators John McCain and John Barrasso for their continued support. I am hopeful that in working on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues, and by continuing to educate other members on the importance of the treaty, we can get the support we need to ratify the treaty this year.”

An American delegation under President George W. Bush negotiated and approved the Convention in 2006. The United States signed the treaty in 2009 and the President submitted it to the U.S. Senate in May 2012 for its advice and consent for ratification; a vote on the CRPD in December 2012 fell five votes short in 2012. The treaty requires no changes to U.S. laws or new appropriations.