GOP bloc in U.S. Senate halts approval of U.N. treaty

Opposition Republicans in the U.S. Senate have blocked passage of a United Nations treaty protecting people with disabilities from discrimination.

Most lawmakers voted in favor of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Tuesday. But a two-thirds’ majority was required for passage, and the final was five votes short.

The treaty failed despite a personal appeal by former Republican senator Robert Dole, who lost the use of his right arm when he was severely wounded in World War II.

The U.N. treaty is modeled after U.S. law that gives disabled people equal rights when it comes to employment and other government benefits. But opponents said the treaty would give priority to U.N. rules and bureaucracy over U.S. laws.

Supporters disputed that argument and said passage was the moral thing to do.

The White House said it is disappointed at the Senate vote. It said the law would have helped protect disabled Americans, including wounded servicemen, as they travel around the world.

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