Hardball | December 05, 2012
>>> welcome back to "hardball." it was an iconic sight yesterday in the capitol when former senator bob dole was wheeled on the senate floor to rally support for the du9rey convention for rights of persons with disabilities . more than 125 countries have ratified this treaty already. here at home it was supported by a bipartisan group, including john kerry and john mccain . but the vote fell short of the 66 required votes, two-thirds required. an issue is belief by some republicans, many of them, that by signing the treaty the united states would somehow surrender some sovereignty to united nations . with me now are two advocates of this treaty , senator john kerry of massachusetts, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee and ted kennedy jr., a long-time champion of disability rights and president of the mal rvm marwood group. it's hard for me to understand the ideological. of notion of something it taken over in our world that we have to fight even though we can't put our finger on it.
>> they argued they were afraid we were giving up sovereignty of nation and somehow the united nations would be able to tell us what to do. neither are true. there is no requirement in this treaty whatsoever that any law in the united states would be changed, no new right would be created that doesn't exist already in the united states and most importantly because of the terminology of the treaty , the treaty language, tha?? it's not self-executing, that means nobody has recourse in any court in the united states of america to enforce the treaty . you might ask, why sign up to the treaty , then? the reason is this treaty is based on the gold standard of how america treats people with disabilities . it's based on americans with disabilities act and raises other countries to our standard. it's really exporting american sovereignty to other nations. it's exporting our values. and most importantly, it makes a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities , you know, born with a disability or something happens to them in life and they have one or veterans, for instance, who want to travel abroad, work abroad , study abroad , you know, just visit. this would have raised their quality of life and these senators turned their back on that out of completely fictitious, totally made up, entirely fear marketing rationale. we want to change that and we will.
>> here's mike lee of utah, who beat conservative bob bennett by running to his right. he was the floor manager opposed of the treaty . here's some of what he argued yesterday on the floor.
>> i and many of my constituents, including those who home school their children or send their children to private ? or religious schools have justifiable doubts that a foreign u.n. body, a committee, operating out of geneva switzerland, should decide what is in the best interest of the child at home with his or her parents in utah or in any other state in our great union. oh, my god. let me go to ted kennedy on that. ted, have you a disability. you lost a leg to cancer years ago. i've always admired how you've handled it. what does it mean to someone disabled, this bill, to an american?
>> well, for disabled americans we feel the republican party have really turned their backs, because what this treaty sdshdoes, by the way senator kerry has been our xhamp onon this and so many other issues, so i commend senator kerry and senator lugar and the other senators who bucked the trend of the pressure in the right wing of this party to somehow mischaracterize this treaty . the treaty is simple. it simply says a disabled american, including disabled american veterans , are afforded the same rights overseas as they are here at home. which is why 21 leading veterans organizations, including the vfw, american legion , wounded warrior project, hardly left-wing organizations, have been strong backers of this treaty . in addition, as senator kerry knows, and has eloquently described so well, this treaty ? was also endorsed by the u.s. chamber of commerce . why? because it expands opportunity, business opportunities . many of the -- there's a billion people with disabilities living around the world. many of whom need wheelchairs and medical products designed and fabricated by companies here in the united states . so we just feel that our rights have been neglected. and that is why we want to support those senators who stuck their necks out --
>> senator, have you to read the votes and count them. of the senators you lost on this vote, you fell five short. can you get them back early next year? how soon do you think you can get them back?
>> first of all, we had two senators who voted yes on the floor and then they changed their votes because of what was happening. in addition to that, there are several senators who have said to me, when we're out of the lame duck session and beyond the fiscal cliff, they'll be prepared to vote for it. in addition to that, i believe we can satisfy with additional language to resolution of ratification, i believe we can satisfy even these sort of out of the blue sky , fictitious concerns. we'll address them. i think we can come back within the first three months of next year and i want to say to bob dole and to every person with disabilities who cares about what happened ?yesterday, this is not going to go away. we're going to come back. we can address the concerns of people and hopefully we'll pass it because it makes a difference to the quality of life of americans traveling abrooad and to all those people whose standards will be raised because of what we've done. this is as pro-america as pro- american values and as noninvolved with the united nations as you can be. the only thing the united nations has is its name on the treaty . it has no rights, no ability whatsoever to change one thing that we do in the united states .
>> i like the phrase united nations . thank you. i know the politics on the hard right. ted kennedy , thank you for coming on. thank you, senator kerry .
>>> coming up, what a country looks like when its leaders ignore financial problems for too long. greece is the word. we got somebody just back from greece, a greek-american will tell us what it's like over there. it is horrific. this is "hardball," the place