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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Statement on Senate Rejection of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied sign at the 2012 ConferenceYesterday the US Senate denied ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The day started in the Hart Senate Office Building, where disability advocates from around the world gathered to honor Senator Bob Dole. The program was filled with current and retired Senators who came to say ‘thank you’ to the 89 year old Republican Senator from Kansas. The room was packed and speakers expressed hopeful statements of success for the day’s vote.

Many of the leaders who have supported ratification of CRPD were on hand to speak about Senator Dole’s work on disability advocacy, his political stance on multiple causes, and his steadfast commitment for getting CRPD ratified in the 112th Congress. Speakers included Senators John Kerry (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). Former Senators Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Bob’s wife, also spoke.

During the celebration of the life and work of Bob Dole, the former Senator himself also addressed the gathering and thanked everyone in the room for their hard work on this historic vote. 

The energy was palpable throughout the Capitol. Advocates wore Ratification of the CRPD – YES stickers as they progressed to the Capitol Galley for the floor vote. We stood in the hallways so that Senators would see the faces of people with disabilities. We urged them to vote yes up until their final steps onto the voting floor. The room was full of passion and hope.

But after the floor opened up for a roll call vote on the ratification, the count began and by the end we were short six votes. The vote was 61 to 38, a total of 99 votes. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) did not vote due to his health. See how your Senators voted.

Please take the time to tell those senators who voted “Yea” on ratification ‘thank you’ for their commitment to the treaty and the disability community. At the same time, we want to ‘shame’ those senators who did not support ratification.

Senators who voted against the CRPD:

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • John Boozman (R-AR)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Daniel Coats (R-IN)
  • Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Jim DeMint (R-SC)
  • Michael Enzi (R-WY)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA), N
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Dean Heller (R-NV)
  • John Henry Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
  • James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Mike Johanns (R-NE)
  • Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • Robert Portman (R-OH)
  • James Risch (R-ID)
  • Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
  • David Vitter (R-LA)
  • Roger Wicker (R-MS)

This outcome is a direct reflection of the dysfunctional political climate that exists in the 112th Congressional Session. The CRPD treaty is one of the least controversial pieces of legislation in Congress. The treaty would not change US law, not compromise any US authority, and there is no funding attached. Ratification would have continued the legacy of leadership America set forth with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 by showing the world that we are committed to civil rights for people with disabilities everywhere.

Ratification is a bipartisan effort by current and retired political leaders such as President George H.W. Bush, Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, and Rep. Tony Coehlo. NCIL will continue to work with our coalition partners on ratification. This effort is not over!

With 27 days left in the 112th Congress, NCIL will turn its focus back to the fiscal cliff, passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and defusing the movement of legislation to weaken the ADA in the House of Representatives. Look for updates in the Weekly Advocacy Monitor and social media.

NCIL thanks all the advocates out there who called, emailed, and used social media to support the CRPD. Your work is just and will never be forgotten!

For more information on this work, contact Dara Baldwin, Policy Analyst, at [email protected]!


  1. Obviously, the senators who voted against this haven’t seen realities like what is shown in below links, happening all across the USA! News links show sadistic, cruel caregivers caught on tape secretly abusing defenseless non verbal severely autistic adult: If this isn’t a hate crime, what is hate? We see caregivers doing repeated acts of abuse against the young man, punching, kicking, shoving him. Pulling his hair. Poking him in the eye. And the reason? The caregivers appear lazy and put out in having to care for him, showing how they hate the person they are paid to care for. Just sick people. Keep your eye on this case.