Archive for Americans with Disabilities Act

Disability community shocked, hurt. Senate aide: "One of most shameful moments I've witnessed... utterly appalling."

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As I wrote yesterday, and as you can see in the video above, even Republican, 89-year-old disabled vet Bob Dole couldn’t sway 13 GOP senators to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty. And it was utterly shameful, a genuinely disgraceful episode. In fact, the outcome was so painful that it brought Lawrence O'Donnell to tears:

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Now it's becoming clearer than ever that Republicans don't value life at all, unless of course, they think they can squeeze votes from uninformed and gullible voters by saying they do. It's becoming clearer than ever that Republicans say one thing and do another. It's becoming clearer than ever that heartless far right hypocrites need to go.

As  Josh Rogin reports, the disability community was shocked and hurt:

David Morrissey, the executive director of the United State International Council on Disabilities, told The Cable in an interview that his group and many others had been assured by numerous GOP senators that they would vote in favor of ratification, but then disabilities groups were given no warning when those senators reversed themselves and voted "no." [...]

The scene both inside and just outside the Senate chamber Tuesday before and during the vote was heart-wrenching, several observers said. Wounded war veterans and other disabled people filled the gallery above the floor and the hallways outside the chamber, expecting to celebrate months of effort, only to have those hopes shattered as the roll call vote was read aloud.

"That was one of most shameful moments I've witnessed during my time in Washington," one longtime senior Senate aide said. "I thought it was utterly appalling."

"The reaction was one of emotional hurt. There was weeping in the gallery," said Morrissey, who added that disability groups will remember the GOP senators who torpedoed the treaty ratification effort and groups have labeled the 38 the "wall of shame."

As Morrissey went on to say, this is what happens when right wing crazies try to agitate home schoolers, "pro-lifers" [sic], and parents with disabled children.

Be proud, GOP. Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

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Even Republican, 89-year-old disabled vet Bob Dole couldn't sway 13 GOP senators to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty

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(Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images)

Being a well-respected, wheelchair-bound, 89-year-old former Senate majority leader and former GOP presidential nominee still wasn't enough for Bob Dole to convince his fellow Republicans to support an initiative to extend the rights granted to Americans under the Americans with Disabilities Act to citizens of the world.

Wanna know who had more influence than Dole did? Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation's advocacy arm, Heritage Action, and the Family Research Council, plus sympathetic, tenderhearted types like Glenn Beck and Rick Santorum. They got jittery over the idea of "U.N. overreach."

Or as I like to call it, good will.

Josh Rogin is reporting that Santorum's Patriot PAC sent out a fundraising e-mail shortly after the vote claiming credit for the defeat.

Here's what GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte, a supporter, said:

“Senate ratification of this treaty would reflect America’s leadership role in breaking down barriers for disabled individuals. It would take a step toward making it easier for disabled Americans to live and work overseas, without impinging on U.S. sovereignty or Congress’ authority to determine our disability laws. Veterans service groups are especially supportive of the treaty, which would help level the playing field for disabled veterans who are abroad.”

But Bob Dole couldn't get 13 Republicans to ratify the treaty. Per Roll Call, only seven "joined Democrats to back U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which would have expanded rights to disabled people globally." Those seven were Ayotte, John Barrasso, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Olympia J. Snowe, Richard G. Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain.

There were a few cowards who could have made a difference, but chose not to:

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., changed his vote from a “yes” to a “no” after it was obvious the treaty would fall short of ratification. Cochran is up for re-election in 2014 and could face a primary challenge from his right.

The other self-serving members of the Wussy Four who were skittish about being primaried were Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham, and Lamar Alexander.

Happy holidays! 'Tis the season! Goodwill toward men (and women)!

Disabled men and women around the world will be eternally grateful to these compassionate "Christian" "pro-lifers" who will now have to live with their decision to deny people everywhere a little common decency. Be proud, Republicans.

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Video- President Obama on the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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If you want to skip straight to the President, he comes in at about 28:40.

Addressing an audience at the White House, Obama called the ADA "an extraordinary event in the life of this nation" and thanked a long list of public figures who played a role in getting in passed -- including former President George H.W. Bush, who signed it law in 1990, Bush Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan.

The president said the Department of Justice was publishing two new rules Monday "prohibiting disability-based discrimination by more than 80,000 state and local government entities, and 7 million private businesses."

He said beginning in 2012 "all new buildings must be constructed in a way that's compliant with the new 2010 standards for the design of doors and windows and elevators and bathrooms."

Obama noted the rules were first proposed six years ago by former President George W. Bush and have been updated to cover recreational and municipal facilities.

He also told his audience he was about to sign an executive order that will promote recruitment, training and retention of Americans with disabilities by the federal government and said his administration has committed more funding for care and treatment of wounded military personnel.

Obama said the Affordable Health Care Act he signed into law this year has "broken down one discriminatory barrier that the ADA left in place" by eliminating the practice of denying healthcare coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

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VIDEO: Rand Paul Refuses to Support Federal Protections for the Disabled

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Via DailyKos:

In fact, it's so reasonable that the ADA contains an exception for that very situation.

Elevators are not required in:

(a) private facilities that are less than three stories or that have less than 3000 square feet per story unless the building is a shopping center, a shopping mall, or the professional office of a health care provider, or another type of facility as determined by the Attorney General; or

(b) public facilities that are less than three stories and that are not open to the general public if the story above or below the accessible ground floor houses no more than five persons and is less than 500 square feet. Examples may include, but are not limited to, drawbridge towers and boat traffic towers, lock and dam control stations, and train dispatching towers.

So Rand Paul opposes a law because he believes it imposes a mandate that it does not in fact impose.

Thank you, Rand, for providing us with reams of material to use against you for the general election.

He is fast becoming the male Barbie McLipSchmutz. We are eternally grateful.

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