Even China and Russia have done what 38 Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, refuse to do: ratify a UN treaty on the rights of the disabled. Treaty ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote, this one failed 61-38.
The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty.
The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty during the lame-duck session of the Congress and warned that the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty.
"I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
Sen. Mike Lee "argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty," and that because it includes language about providing equal access to reproductive health care to disabled people, it would lead to abortion. Because everything the UN does involves either black helicopters or abortion in the fevered brains of the tea party Republicans who now rule their party. Here's the roll call of the vote.
And the international embarrassment that is the U.S. Republican Party continues.