Senate Dems revive U.N. treaty on ADA benefits

June 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats say they plan to revive a U.N. treaty that was shut down by Republicans last year over concerns for home schoolers.

The treaty, which is aimed at extending the Americans with Disabilities Act to people with disabilities around the world, was shut down in a 61-38 vote in December, The Hill reported Sunday.

Advocates say debate over the treaty got caught up in election-year politics, but believe that if the bill resurrected now, it will have more support.

"We believe very much there is a path forward for victory," said Marca Bristo, president of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. "If we didn't, we wouldn't be putting in this effort."

A Senate Democratic aide said that Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel, hopes to win approval of the treaty by reaching an agreement with panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

"There's a variety of senators out there who we think if they stand by what they said are very gettable," Bristo said.

Meanwhile, the treaty's opponents, who say the treaty threatens people who home school their children, have already mounted a campaign to try and defeat the treaty again.

"Thank you for joining us in this battle to protect our children and our children's future," Home School Legal Defense Association president J. Michael Smith wrote to the group's members last month. "You defeated this treaty last year. Standing together, we can defeat this treaty once again."

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