tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 21, 2013 8:00pm-10:01pm EST
speaking to others who were inspired by president kennedy but since we are out tomorrow we are going to be very prayerful today and send our wishes. i know the kennedy family is more and just in focusing on the president's birthday or his inauguration day or his many other accomplishments as yesterday we beautifully observed at the 50th anniversary of the signing of the presidential medal of freedom award and all the value he placed on growing our economr old, sports, the arts and all the rest, but it has made a difference in our country and he inspired many of us to be involved in politics. much legislation sprang from inch of rain his original agenda but we will talk more about that this afternoon. just remembering always that resident kennedy said children
the sena aate floor of the righ of people with disability comes to other. let me thank secretary kerry for being here. first, i think he has the thanks of all us on the committee for the incredible work you have been doing across the globe. and your presence sends a strong message about the importance of the issue. we appreciate you coming back to chair. we received the support of thousands of people and organization all of whom are looking for us to take the treaty over the finish line. we have received compelling letters of support from multiple
companies with over 2,000 member companies. the united states chamber of commerce and the u.s. business. i want to recognize former president and ceo of the financial service round table steve bartlet. we have received individual letters from 84 non-profit disability and religious organizations. not to next sign on letters
representing a thousand dollar different groups. we have heard from citizens, some well known, and some not as well known. collin powell, the president of ga galuadet who wrote nothing is more american than recognizing quality for all citizens. and we have several petitions that have been organized with a total of 67,000 signatures. and let us not forget what this means to veterans. we have received letters from 15 veteran supporters. the american legion and the
veterans of foreign war with 1.5 million members. and i would like to recognize the national commander of the american legion who is here with us today. everyone who supports the treaty is pleads the resolution the american legion passed. thank you very much. we have honored to have wounded warriors from all generations. thank you for taking the time to show your support. you have ours which is one reason we should ratify the treaty as soon as possible. we absolute you and thank you for your service. i am told we will receive a letter of support from former secretary's of defense.
so i move that all of the petitions, letters and written statements we have received be entered in the record to support the depth of the treaty that it has all on sides of the aisle. this is the right thing to do. and i will repeat dr. jordan's message: nothing is more american than representing equal opportunity for all of our citizens. let me turn to the a ranking member of the committee. i want to thank him for working forward with hwhat the treaty means, what it can achieve, and
concerns of the committee and o beyond. >> thank you. i appreciate the tone you have set in leadership and members have set in separating and insureing -- ensuring things are gone in a bipartisan pay possible. i want to thank kerry for being here. i think the ratification of the treaty rest solely on the administrati administration's willingness to ensure the treaty has no affect on domestic law.
the meetings we have had has been pleasant, but not satisfying. the willingness hasn't boehn boehner -- done to accomplish these -- and i am proud of the efforts we have done to advance ada and so many other measures that have had a positive affect on the disability community. last year was one of the most intense hearing i have participated in. talking about the many, many strides that have taken place skwchlt that was one of my high marks in the senate. ada is the implementing language
some people are saying. we had a case, the von case, and it points out how the supreme courts can in fact take into account treaties to affect domestic law. we saw a woman in pennsylvania was being convicted because of a treaty we had relative to chemical weapons. some stated the reason was congress passed implementing language. but even after the treaty passes, another congress can pass implementing language and that expands the limits of what we have at the federal government relative to
federalism and other issues. i will say to the secretary as he begins to testify, i would love to see the advancement of rights for the disabled. i would love to see american play a role in advancing thoseththos those things. but it is important we agree to language that makes sure the treaty will not affect federalism. i hope the hearing will be more about substance and less about cheerleading. and i hope the secretary's testimony will reflect that. i thank you for being hear.
and i look forward to the hearing and i appreciate all of the witnesses who have come. >> mr. secretary, the floor is yours. >> thank you very, very much for welcoming me here to talk about the disability treaty which i am anxious to do. we have hundred percent prepared to work through what are known as ruds in order to pass the treaty. that is our goal. as we begin with the place that is making it clear that we don't believe it has impact, but we are happy to restate the law in a way that makes senators feel comfortable.
we want to pass this. it isn't lost on any of us that only 11 months the sensate fell five votes short of approving the treaty. more than 60 senators have already resolved in their minds many of the questions that are re-raised again and again. with a number of people who had previously been going to vote for it and changed, that was a rough day for a lot of us that support the treaty, including senator mccain, who is hardly a newcomer to the issue and is one of the strongest voices on why we should be doing this. for why to put it blunt this treaty is in america's interest. in the conversations i had with many senators, republicans and
democrats alike, including a number who had voted against the treaty, i even heard real regret about what had transpired and the unintended outcome to sent to people with disabilities. and i would hope they can take up the treaty again and demonstrate the truth that senators from both sides of the aisle care deeply about the rights of people with disabilities. thank you chairman menendez for being willing to come back at this important treaty. and thank you ranking member
corker doing what both of you talked about. with an eye trying to make certain we err of the concerns so that every senator can make up their own judgment in an atmosphere that is not crowded with procedure questions like we were last year. we all approach this renewed discussion, we listened carefully to all of you, and we recognize that some senators were dissatisfied with the process and several are not p prepared to support the treaty until they feel certain concerns are addressed. again, i repeat, we will work with you on an appropriate
reservation or understanding or declaration as appropriate in order to clarify something if indeed it is begging for clarification and we are not able to show through legal cases and the reality of the treaty itself it is addressed. i believe what i believe the first time we tried to do this when i was chair. that the ratification of the disabilities treaty will advance core american values. it will expand opportunities for our citizens and businesses. and it will strengthen american leadership. and i am still convinced that we give up nothing. but we get everything in return. i will say that again: we give up nothing, but get everything in return. our ratification doesn't require a single change to american law.
and it is isn't going to add a penny to the budget. but it will provide the leverage, the hook that we need in order to push other countries to pass laws, or improve their laws, or raise their standards for the protection of people with disabilities up to the standard that we have already adopted in the united states of america, up to the standards that prompted president george h bush and republican leader dole to pass the americans with disability act and negotiate the treaty. i have travelled to a great deal of countries since being confirmed and i have seen first-hand the need for this tra treaty in ways i have not seen
before. this is not just a nice thing to do. it isn't abstract. it isn't for the few. it raises standards for the many. there are countries where children with disabilities are wa warehoused from birth and denied a birth cer certification even. the united states has the ability to impact that with the passage of this treaty. 130 countries signed up for this. in too many countries what we did here at home with the americans with disability act hasn't been remotely received overseas and what we take for granted here hasn't been granted at all. i visited a sports rehab center
in bogota. a center we support. and i met police officers who were injured by grenades, soldiers injured by iud, volunteers caught in shootouts that were helping us enforce global narcotic objects. they are risked life and limb and lost friends in battle but there is a whole world they can not access because of their disabilities whether they received as they undertook duties shared by our hopes and aspirati aspirations with respect to the enforcement of law. moments like this clarify for the work we have to do to export our gold standards. the americans with disability act is the global gold standard.
we should be proud of it. we are. but i would hate to see us squander our position on this because we are unwilling to embrace what we began. when i tell other counties they ought to do what we do. it is hard to leverage people when you are on the outside. we lose out on that and we are not at the table. we can't share our experience and use it to broaden ours. when other countries to together to talk about education, employment standards with disabilities, areas where the
united states has developed exp exp expertise and we are excluded because we are not there in the treaty and others fill in that all less. i don't want to see us take ourselves outlet of the game. remoni rem remaining on the sidelines jeopardizes our future for shaping other countries. we need to push the door open for countries to benefit from our guidance, and experience and expertise. joining the treaty is the most powerful step we can take to gain the upsides. in a letter to the committee,
former secretary of state powell said it best: if the senate doesn't approve the treaty, the united states will continue to be excluded from the most important global platform for the implementation around the world. this is very real. everyone of these people represent thousands of people who this is real. it is about things you can see and touch and make a difference to people's life. sidewalks without curb cuts. try managing that. public building with no restrooms and no ramps. buses without lifts. train platforms without tack
tile strips that keep you from going over on the to tracks. we cannot afford to ignore these barri barriers as problems that don't affect us. they are present all over the world. including top december destinations for americans travelling for work, study, or pleasure. and we are not using our power and influence to change things for the better if we don't join the treaty. i ask you to think about what the treaty means. think about what it means to the veter veterans. i met a west point graduate, retired united states army captain and an afghanistan war veteran. and dan never thought he would one day tr have a disability but
his life changed when when he stepped on the trigger of an iud and lost his legs. he speaks in terms about the difficult, fear and embarrassment of negotiatinnego things abroad. he travelled to south africa last year and said quote, the advantages we take for granted here don't exist in much of the world. let me tell you the good news. dan is a student at stanford business school and wants to be able to take haven't advantage of every opportunity and he can do that because of the ada. but dan will tell you, not me,
as he said last year, experiences on a trip abroad, this opportunities in the increasing important market place are helpe henders from a disability he acquired on our behalf. there are 5.5 million disabled veterans like dan and many of them on the post-911 gi bill have a disability and many cannot study abroad because of the poor standards. i ha i have met with recovering veterans and they want a world where they can be independent and go out and fend for themselves and travel abroad to work, study or vacation and they
should never worry about the disabilities they sustained on our behalf will prevent them from things. they deserve a world they can p participate in the global world. it will expand opportunities for american students with disabilities who need to study abroad to compete in the global economy. i want you to take the example of a girl who is one of the outstanding interns at the state department. he is -- she is here today. she is a graduate student with a career in foreign affairs.
she is deaf as well. she went to ghana last year and the absence of directions and fire alarms with flashing lights made things difficult for her. she did travel despite things in her way that would stop travelling at all. she is exceptional but it shouldn't be the exception. america has more students with disability in higher educate than every before. so students with disabilities participate in study abroad programs les than half as often than those without disabilities. our joining this treaty will help change those numbers. i ask you quickly to consider a few concrete examples.
we are talking about joining a treaty that will strengthen our hands as we push for fire alarms with flashing lights so deem who are deaf or hard of hearing know when there is an emergency. and leverage for other countries to have sidewalks with curb cuts so people in wheelchairs can cross the street. or the tack tile strips at the train station for the blind. we will lead the way for other countries to adopt our standards. accessible bathrooms, flashing lights, all of the advancements that have made an enormous difference. change will not happen with the
passage of the treaty ovr overnight. when we passed the ada the sidewalks and such didn't appear the next day. nor did the businesses that make product said -- products -- that serve people. but it is a process and our joining the treaty, followed by an important ingredient. i will send a message to every embassy in the world and we will engage a protocol that will have people reaching out to countries and governments and use the presence to leverage and encourage changes in other countries. to use the voice you will give us by actually joining it. a voice we are not able to exercise today for the absence as a member.
if we join, we can ensure vets have the same opportunities abroad as others. that is why the american legion, our largest organization, and many other veteran's groups support the ratification of this. if we join, i ask you to thing about this: why is the american chambers of commerce? and coke cola? because it will open new markets. it will level the playing field for businesses who already meet accessibility standards. as other countries rise to meet our standards and need us, they will look to american companies that already produce these goods. and we will be able to help them fill the needs and this means jobs at home.
that is why ibm and many others businesses support this ratification. i think this is the single-most important step we could take today to expand opportunities abroad for the more than 50 million americans with disabilities. this treaty isn't about change america, it is about america changing the world. i hope each of you will put yourselv yourselv yourselves in the situation. one of my colleagues unfortunately found himself fighting back against things that happen unexpectedly. and so while our circumstances might change, our rights and our opportunities should never change. with the passage of this treaty, we have an opportunity to guarantee that for all-americans and change lives for the better
for people in the world. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for a substance and vivid example of why the treaty is so important. let me start a round of questions and try to get to issues i have heard. i am sure you have heard them from your past effort in this regard and we heard in the first round of hearing and individual conversations. some argue the united states shouldn't enter into treat as that don't involve matters of national security, what would you say to those who think this treaty is unnecessary? >> i think i have given a fairly
strong description of why this is necessary. we join treaty because they are in our national interest. we do it, if you think about the treaties the sen ate has passed we passed treaty that affect religious, inter-country adoption, international child support collection, and we do this because these interest in the united states. and in this case, it is in the interest of the people. i don't why we can ask people to fight for values and not enforce
the values with the same rights they have in america when they want to travel or work or study abroad. >> another argument i have heard is that ratification would subord nature to the un and allow us to be guided by the united nations. i disagree with that and i think we have tried to explore it. but i would like to get your take. will ratification violate principles of american sovereignty? >> no. there is no impact. in fact you are exercising our sovereignty by doing what the constitution members envisioned by ratifying a treaty. if the treaty doesn't have
consequences to the united states it doesn't need to go outside. there is no self-execution in here and no cause of action as a consequence that allows people to go to court. so in fact, joining the treaty doesn't require a change to u.s. law and there is no reach, whatsoever, by any committee outside. the one committee that exist in this treaty is allowed to suggest things, but they have no power to enforce or compel or anything except put on eye on the table. nothing changes unless the united states senate was to ratify. there is no change. >> i appreciate the comments you made here today in public as
well as the ones you have expre expressed to me in private about the openness and willingness to consider reservations, understanding, and deck declarations. i want to create a framework for that. i think myself and others are open to the process. we can have request of ruds that go beyond an appropriate balance. and so while we want to work very deeply with those who want to get to a yes on the treaty and find a way for them to do
so. it is my intention to take care of the understandings and not undermine the treaty. is that a fair statement? >> that is very fair. last year when we did the process, we entertained and i was happy to entertain as chair a number of reservations. i thought we did a good job and we can hone them and work with you. we don't need the fill this thing up with a fact of restatements and things that absolutely don't need to be restated. we have to exercise a little
restraint and judgment as to what is really in controversy and what isn't. we want senators to feel comfortable. so we are prepared to address concerns and we will work with you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think you know, mr. secretary, i do not read from notes typically. but i'm going to do that today to ask in a specific way. and i want to say to all of the people ad volunteer -- advocattiadvoca advocating on the treaty -- and i know we want to support the
cause. i don't think that is in question. when people look at these issues, sometimes they forget there is a whole body of law out there that affects people domestically in ways that were never intended. my goal, and i think a number of people on the committee's goal, is to make sure the best of what the treaty is about is preserved, but at the same time you end up in a situation where you have not done things that affect us domestically in ways we never intended for that occur. in the supreme case versus barn the supreme court argued ratification can expand existing power to legislate beyond traditional limit and the framers intepped tended for the
senate to use advice and power. did you agree with that? >> i don't believe that bond applies here. so it isn't a question of whether i agree or disagree they put forward. the question is does bond have any impact on the passage of the disability treaty and the fact it is a case in controversy for the supreme court. and the question is bond involves a challenge that is passed after the senate gave the advice. after the chemical weapons tret was passed. this has passed and put in practice for years. the ada is the implementing
language. no new legislation is required. the constitutionality of our domestic legislation, which was passed independently of the disability treaty, has been sustained by the court. so we don't have the potential of a bond crisis here. and i think it is being inappropriately applied to this treaty. >> okay. can you confirm no further legislation, and i want all of this for the record, can you con confirm no further legislation is necessary and there is not a need in the future for any further legislation to satisfy for the conventions requirement. >> i can confirm no legislation is required to implement this.
nothing is required to be pass today satisfy this treaty. >> so the united states is not trying to regulate beyond this treaty? >> that is accurate. >> and no need of additional authority to establish crpd is that correct? >> that is correct. >> you would support strong federalism ruds to eliminate possibilities? >> i would support on appropriate rud, yes, with respect to that. >> that addresses these issues? >> that clarifies federal
regulation and how it will work. that is appropriate. >> we have attempted to work -- >> in other words, that restates the fact that the treaty only requires we take action under federal law. we have a right to have a rud appropriately stating that. >> i think it is important this is a very clear statement. we look forward to working with you. a range of concerns have being talked about saying these could be under regulated and any senator wants to be sure the ruds stand the test of time and take the view that the advice and condition was adopted by the senate. do you agree? >> i do.
>> would you support a rud that ties our obligations to the ruds? >> say that again. >> will you support a non-sever rud that ties our obligations to the continuing ruds? >> i don't know if i can. i would just have to be able to make sure we have the power to do that. but there is no way the ruds can be dropped. they are part of the treaty and embarra embraced in the treaty and you would have to pull out or change the treaty for the rud not to be enforceable. can we look at the language? >> i want you to look at the language. >> we will work for you on the
language. >> if your staff decides this isn't a concern, will the department of justice provide in writing, conformation of its legal review that the senate ruds cannot be in validated or render not affective for domestic or international policy. >> my staff isn't going to decide. i am going to decide. i will take a look at it, we will talk and decide the options. i will ingamiengage with the ju department, but i think we should find a way in the language. the ruds that you enter into so you are not feeling like you are entering to the a quicksand deal.
i get it. >> in addition, the treaty allows for the with draw of rud. and states are encouraged to withdraw ruds to consider what they consider full compliance. could a future congress or executive withdraw a rud through the normal ledge calculation -- legislation -- pattern and there by going through the constitutional protection required by the 2/3 majority. you understand what i am asking? >> i am told this has never happened and we wouldn't do it without a fair amount of policy. no foreign country or disability
committee would invalidate a rud. i would presume, it would take -- i think it would take a new resolution. i would have to find out for you, senator. >> more specifically, could tr federalism rud be withdrawn and eliminate what the senate put in place and pass legislation that uses authority to intrude on the powers of the state. >> i don't believe it could, no. that would be in contrast of the federalism. >> you would support a rud to protect our ruds from withdraw with a new resolution. >> on the the surface, that would appear to be a good thing. i would want to check with
counsel, and run it through, but why not -- council --. >> i would say for the people ad volunteer -- advocating for the treaty -- these are about making sure the treaty doesn't have unintended consequences that can occur in the country. and i would ask advocates to help resolve the issues with us if you believe the treaty is important to pass. thank you for your time. >> thank you, senator corker. i have extended the time for ranking member because you pledged a role. because there is going to be action on the floor, i will have
to ask members to stick to their time and adhere to do that. >> >> thank you for your leadership and what you have done as secretary of state. you have been an incredible voice for america. i want to knowledge the presence of dr. seth morgan. he is a commissioner on the people with disability and he is a retired neuro doctor of 38 years. he is an advocate working as a volunteer for the national ms society and lives with ms. i would like to quote a statement dr. morgan made and that is as a person with a family living abroad i would be able to visit family and extended family without the
uncertainty that has plagued prior visits to point out how important this is for people travelling abroad. and the american veterans that have disability would like to be made part of the record as well. >> secretary, i write you letters asking you in your visits abroad to raise issues of concerns on human rights. i have asked you to raise issue concerning religious freedom, the concerns about corruption. can you tell me you are in those meetings and the fact we have
not ratified the treaty, does that affect your creditability in advoca advocatting for the rf people when you raise the issues in other countries? >> i am not going to tell you in every conversation i have someone raised the disability treaty because they have not. but the breadth of rights comes up. and you wind up with people pushing back on one thing or the other. and i will tell you this has happened frequently on the law of the sea, but that isn't the issue in front of us.
let niasia ellis -- me say -- i never go anywhere without talking about the country's reform and run into the a debate about the cultural differences here. but on this, i have raised the issue and people indicate readiness and willing ness to help, but they are not versed and don't know the cost and such. and that is the virtue of putting the ada on the table and be a member so we go to the 138 member countries and start to engage them on it. and the answer is being a -- if you come in and you are not a member or partf of it, you lose
leverage. >> this is interesting when you look at bake basic human rights, when the united states is missing, it is more challenging to get the progress we need. >> absolutely. without any question. and you know, when you run through the list and look at the countries that are signed up to it, you see incredible opportunities here. i mean, you know, saudi arabia, south korea, yemen, united kingdom, jordan, and you run around any of these countries, israel as well and they did a reservation with respect to one thing; to abide by their laws,
but they are comfortable. i think our we are the full advocate because we initiated this, negotiated it, went to countries and said get on board and we are not there. so the committee isn't as energyized as it could be. >> american al-shabaab -- american has been a leader in d advancing disabilities rights. the document we made is used at international meetings to make
sure accommodations have been made. the ratification of the treaty, countries that are so far behind us in accommodating people with disabilities, have signed and ratified the treaty. it gives us a seat at the table to advance their laws that protect people with disabilities. it is golden opportunity for us. it is interesting these countries have ratified and approved and we are still in the process of doing it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator rubio? >> i am going to be brief. thank you for being year. my grand father was disabled by polio and struggled. i am sympathetic to this. and i am getting letters from people who are getting
concerned. i have two questions. the first is a statement in 2007, and we shoe issued a statement that the article doesn't create abortion and can doesn't support endorsement of abortion. would the administration support the inclusion of a statement that reafirms this? >> i thought we came up with a good rud that dealt with this question by making sure it didn't include any language regarding any medical procedure. i think we used the word any medical procedure that didn't refer to that. because there was back and forth
on the issue about p prochoice/prolife. if there is a conviction, we ought to sit down and work through the language. but nothing in article 25 or anywhere else in the treaty creates a right to abortion. that is a domestic legal issue and nothing in the treaty changes that. that was in the leder to the congress that made it clear -- letter -- and i thought the language helped clarify that. we have gotten letters about home schooling.
called that language the right term. >> would you comment on that statement? >> well, obviously we disagree with that profoundly. [laughter] i mean, you're asking the obvious. it's inflammation and unnecessary and i think at this moment, when we are trying to negotiate and figure out what can and cannot be achiewfed. the last thing we need are names and back and forth. we want to campusser bat it here. but our good friends in israel know full well that we depend their cell phones. they are deeply, deeply, they are threatened by what is happening in that part of the world. and particularly by the potential of a nuclear weapon. we standby our friends in israel
completely. and obviously we don't believe that anything is served with, you know, names that challenge everybody's sense of proprototy and justice. we've been through this before. we've heard, as you know, prior -- very disturbing assertions regarding the holocaust and so forth. i think we need move away from that, and our hope is that the process of the next months and years would enable us to do that. >> senator koontz. >> thank you, chairman menendez. thank you for convening our second meeting. thank you, secretary kerry for your ongoing leadership in the previous role and secretary of state protecting the right of disabled persons has historically garnered the support of all americans. for disabled person through
increased access, mobility, protection for disabled americans abroad and wounded veteran. last year i think we missed a great opportunity. t my hope shared by many of my constituents we don't make the same mistake again. at the risk of asking you to meet things but the entire hearing strikes me of revisiting important issues need to be asked and answers and reassure those two haven't heard yes yet in your view, what is the response to critics who charge the cr pressuring d would violate u.s. sovereignty and somehow the disabilities committee would be empowered around this treaty to dictate how the united states treats people with disabilities here at home. >> well, with respect to sovereignty earlier, this is absolutely no ability whatsoever for any country or entity
through this treaty to gain any legal redress or capacity to compel the united states to do anything. there is no oversight, there is a committee that works on issue, but most they can do is make a suggestion. there are 18 mens of it. they are elected on a global basis. they issue a report. but they cannot compel us to do a thing so there is zero give up or loss of any sovereignty in the united. in fact, as i said earlier, we are exercising our sovereignty by deciding whether or not we want the rest of the world to be inor tune to rise to our standards rather than stay static or rise lower or come to a lower standard. i think the united states gains entirely by this.
and secondly, on the disability committee, the committee has absolutely zero power to change a law, to order a change of law, to compel a change of law. they cannot have any impact. there is no power in this treaty by also in the committee. the committee has new ability to create any custom air international law. no decision, memo, anything they utter can have an impact on united states and what we reserve to our ourselves to our institution and even through our declarations and understanding and reservation in this treaty. >> so given that, mr. secretary, as i believe within and you have asserted the treaty doesn't compel us to do anything except to continue follow our own law in our own way of why then ratify it if you would briefly remind us what harm is being done to our ability to advocate for disability rights by being the empty seat at the table or merely an observer status of the
committee for the convention on the rights on person with disabilities. how does it harm our ability to advocate for americans with disabilities and american's standards for how we should treat citizens with disabilities around the world. >> there are a whole series of things that this treaty does require other countries to do. we have already done them. that's why it doesn't have an impact on us. we're already meeting those standards. it compels other country or requires other countries to provide seability. to pride nondiscrimination and things they do like birth certificate for kids. you can't deny somebody a birth certificate because they're disabled. creates asset of rights about standard for education, transportation, all the things that matter to us under the ada. it basically takes each of those
except -- components and gives a legal obligation to other countries to live up to that standard. our standard. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you for your testimony and hard work. i think this convention is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the high standard that the united states has made the gold standard for treatment of our citizens with disabilities. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i have a comment and question for secretary kerry i want to coan introduction. i think the gail pollack is here with us today. i want to bring thorough the attention of the committee. she was the first woman nonphysician commander of the u.s. medical command and acting surgeon general with the army with nearly led billion in 2007. she has extensive experience in the military. she was challenged by senator inouye when he made comments about caring for blinded troopers and lead an effort that resulted in the establishment of a dod/va center for excellence for vision.
follow her experience in that regard and a program at harvard. she established a soul source information solution provider for anybody concerned about vision loss. we are happy general pollack is here today and the work she does to advocate for folks around the world. thank you, general pollack. thank you, secretary kerry. today is a big day. there's a lot going on in the world today. and you have chosen to be here with us is a tribute to you. to how importantly you view this priority. in listening to your testimony i was reminded of the great senator who believes so deeply in the united states' need ratify the genocide treaty that every day the senate was in session for 19 years, he took to the floor of the senate and advocated the treaty which was ratified be the u.n. and activated in 1951 was not ratified by the united states until the 1986. he gave over 3200 floor speeches
over the course of 19 years until the u.s. ratified the genocide treaty. i hope you're not here that often. [laughter] i hope we do it quicker than 48 years. this treaty came before the u.n. and ratified in '06. but thank you for sticking with it and us. i only have one question for you. the last time you were before us, we were debating an issue that was remains difficult. syria and whether to authorize use of military force in syria. the committee voted to do that authorization. shortly thereafter, in your discussion diplomatic discussion with syria and others, syria agreed to do something had had not done. it agreed to become a signatory to the u.n. chemical weapons convention. what moral leverage would the united states have had to insist that syria become a member and sign on to the treaty agreement under the chemical weapons convention if the united states had not been a signatory to that
convention? >> well, senator, first of all thank you for your reflebses on senator production meyer. i was here when we passed it finally. i remember listening to many of those. look, your question answers itself. we never could have achieved it. we would have had no standing whatsoever to be able to argue it. senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. can we talk about something in addition to the obvious benefits that will flow to people with disabilities? and that is that which will flow to american businesses if we have an international standards. so there's about 56 million people in the united states with disabilities. but there are about a billion
people in the world with disabilities. so, for example, if we take something like a u.s. loss sthashed said all of the devices have to be assessable to the deaf and the blind, and you multiple that by the thousand of companies in the united states that have a part of this communications revolution. what could it mean for american business if these standards are adopted in cubs all across the world? what could it mean in term of practical benefits for the u.s. economy if we join the rest of the world in ratifying a treaty they're already to go on in term of what that additional benefit would be for our country. >> senator, you hit the nail on the head. i mentioned in my opening comment the benefit to the business and why they are supportive of this. a billion people, a billion people is a big market.
, you know, the market that drove the wealth creation of the 1990s where every begin tile of americanerns saw their income gap. and it -- actually grew quickly to a 1 trillion market. it began smaller and the result is this market is just waiting for us to tap in to. we have assisted -- we have electronic, you know, assisted devices that help people to speak. that can print, that can, i mean, there are extraordinary gains through technology we'll be able to sell it. different kind of wheelchair seabilities. lift, all kinds of benefits in communications and in transportation. so there are huge, huge benefits
for our companies. the bottom line is it means job. i agree with you. >> and not a small number of jobs. tens of thousands. maybe hundreds of thousand of jobs in the united states directly related to a standard being established across the rest of the world. i agree with you it doesn't require any change in u.s. law. it's really going to be a benefit for the disabled around the world and for businesses here in the united states to be able to service that new market that has been created. and question be the leader in distributing those technologies as well while profiting here in the united states. so i thank you, again. >> we agree. >> thank you, senator. >> mr. secretary, i know there are a series of members who would have liked to engage with you, and i think the challenges as there are procedures about to
take place on the floor that will probably take about an hour of time. so i understand -- i assume your schedule would not permit you to have that period of time. >> i regret, mr. chairman, it doesn't. >> i didn't think so considering what is happening in the world and your frantic schedule. we will keep the record extensively so that questions can be submitted and maybe working with you if there are any specific members . >> why don't i agree with this. i want it to pass i want too try to expedite it and be helpful as we can at the department. recognizing this dpiflty on the floor. why don't we try to arrange a
meeting at the state department for those senators who did have some of those questions. we would be happy to meet. and obviously we're prepared to answer questions for the record in short order. between the record for those who want to have something on the record and those who want to have a conversation about some of their concerns and how the department and the administration react to them. i think that's a fair offer. and i appreciate it. i appreciate your testimony here today. i think has been substantiative, very compelling. i just want to share two final concerns. we can try to create an environment which we want to be as airtight as possible. i get that. for those who have concerns. however, i think that looking at future congress' five years, ten years, twenty years from now. on anything that the united states congress passes could be
a changed. of course, it would seem to me that a united states congress would have to change it. and there would be full debate and the opportunity to do so. i don't envision that. it's been stated it never happened as it relates to rud. i wouldn't expect it be the first time ever in history it would take place. i think there has to be a balance here as to what expectations are one can guarantee about future congresses. so that's just an observation for the record. the second is, as you and the department work with any of the members as it relates to ruds. i urge do you share with us at the chair. at the end of the day i have to be willing to support a set and brick it before the committee when we get to that point. i'm sure that's the way we work together. with the thanks of the committee -- >> can i say this? >> yes. >> i want to thank you for your leadership on this. there's a lot going on here
too. but as you know with is a priority. i appreciate you making one. i want to thank senator who was an early supporter of this sometime ago and stuck with it. we are appreciative for the bipartisan effort here with senator mccain others. >> yeah. we have a series of colleagues who have joined us in this effort. you have mentioned senator mccain, senator burr rays sew, senator ayotte, senator kirk, as well as members of the democratic side. our goal is to get us the type of strong bipartisan support that will pass the treaty. there are few times, i think, in our lives in public service that you can act the lives of millions of your fellow americans in a powerful way that can make equality of opportunity and access to that opportunity a reality. whether the 58 million americans
who face some form of disability. this an opportunity to do that. this is why it's important and we appreciate your presence here today in the midst of global challenge. thank you very much. with the appreciation of the committee. the secretary is excused. >> i apologize to the next panel in term of time wait. i hope you can hang in there with us. i'm not in control of exactly what the time will be on the floor. it may be shorter. but it's likely to talk about ab hour to the audience members as well. we will reconvene upon the last final vote that takes place on the senate floor. but i believe it will be sometime within an hour. and until that time, the committee stands in recess.
[inaudible conversations] the foreign senate releases committee will come to order. first, let me say to our distinguished panel that we regret that issues on the floor have created challenges to us conducting the hearing. as a matter of fact, we're not finish order the floor. in order to listen to your incredibly important testimony, what i've asked the ranking member with his concurrence is to proceed during these votes and hopefully rotate -- ask members to take the chair when is necessary. in order to get the testimony and the record that hopefully have opportunity for q & a at the end. i know, that mr. grey has to leave, and we want to definitely
get his testimony. i appreciate your willingness to do so. after we start, we'll excuse you and of course, the record will be open we urge you to answer any questions. our second panel today we have mr. francis west. the worldwide districter. responsible for promoting advanced research, technology, part of the effort to enable everyone to achieve their full potential through innovation. ambassador grey former white house counsel to -- and u.s. ambassador to the european union. and i understand his daughter, staff writer for thyme magazine, was married saturday. congratulations to the proud father of the are bride. jeremy is a professor of law at george mason university. he serves on the board of academic adviser and the board of directors director center for
individual right. we welcome you. and curtis bradley a professor of law, public policy study. senior associate dean for faculty research at duke university. he clerked for supreme court justice byron white. written many articles on law. professor, you're on the right committee. welcome to you all. with that, let me ask mr. grey to go first. all of your statements will be fully entered to to the record. mr. chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear and also thank you for your accommodation for my schedule. i wish i could stay for the entire conversation. it's very important, and also very interesting. but i hope i can answer
questions in the record, if it's appropriate. i was involved with the architecture and structure of the americans with disabilities act almost from the very beginning. starting with the work that then vice president bush did with the regulatory relief under president reagan, who was very supportive always of disability rights. and the ada grew out of work that had been done during the reagan administration. the statute has been very occur rabble. it has been a great success, it has really changed for the betterment of the lives of great many americans. as i enter as a leader of the baby boom cohort, as many people
have said, there really is no basic difference between the right of the disabled and the right of the aging. and this has been a great success in the united. we are in aned a verted situation basically with the way this proceeded. normally you have a treaty an an implementing statute. here not quite the reverse but close to it. we had an implementing statute 20 years and a treaty that come out of that. there's nothing binding on this country. and this is, i think, the most important point that i can make. the case become an issue of which was argued recently senator, kerry, i think dealt with that comprehensively. the case was brought under the implementing legislation not under the treaty i.t. there will be no implementing legislation here. of course, as senator kerry
observed there's no way to bind some future congress from amending the ada. it already has been amended once. but that is for the future and that is not an issue here. there is the discussion of whether for federalism purposes and purposes of severability to take two examples that were raised earlier with senator kerry that need to be stronger reservations. a couple have been suggested will be given in a few minutes. i see no difficulty with making these strengthened reservations. but i also don't think they are absolutely essential. why? because professor bradley acknowledges and what is clearly understood the convention -- the congress is already adopted the
reservation that has declaration that has the convention being nonself-executing. which he acknowledges would have the effect of preventing the convention from being judicially enforceable on its own terms. therefore, it can't be used to justify legislation that would not be ordinarily under our institution and can't be justified. can't be used to justify interference with our system of federalism beyond what would ordinarily be possible under the institution in the ab sen of this treaty. so i don't think it's absolutely essential but i also think it's already been done but very strong reservation i think note
difficulty in adopting these stronger statements. i think on home schooling which has been an issue in the past. i think it's been dissipated, thankfully. i want to express my own support for school choice. i think probably well known for this. school -- home schooling is under the regime of the ada and other disabled education legislation. i don't see really any way in the world a treaty, which is non enforceable can do anything to the growing movement or the vibrant movement of home schooling in america. at that point, i will be quiet. i appreciate your testimony. let me ask you since you're
going to be excused. we have a question before we got rest of the panel. i want to focus on one part of your testimony. that is if you were still the white house counsel, as you were under president bush, there are some that suggested that we have to wait for the supreme court to decide in the bond decision before the senate would make a decision on this treaty. do you think there's any reason that the bond case should delay senate consideration of the disabilities treaty? >> i do not. i'm told that justice breyer was more skeptical than perhaps anybody else. and so i think it's pretty chair clear what the result is going to be. i think it's irrelevant. that makes this treaty
nonself-executing and nonreviewable in the courts. so i see no way how the bond case can be relevant. again, to point out, it was the prosecution under an implementing statute there will be no implementing statute here. what is relevant for purpose of the court is the ada i.t. and not this treaty. >> yeah. listen, as i understand you have to leave. i'm going did ask you some questions. thank you. first ever all, i respect you very much and appreciate you being here today. i want to ask you a couple of specific question. ly say, relative to your last statement, congress always pass implementing legislation two years from now, four years from now. the fact is that it's not necessarily even that that could
happen. but the fact when you ratify a treaty, that itself can extend create some issue for us domestically. let me just ask you a couple of questions. as an do you agree there are significant questions about whether a treaty can expand congress' power in to areas historically reserved to the state under the supreme court current case law? ..
package of ruds that protects the appropriate amounts of power between the federal government. >> i think the answer's yes. >> yes. >> okay. >> you had made statements on the record in the past, and since the record of the hearings can have a bearing on future issues that arise, and i respect your advocacy and respect your service to the country, and i thank you very much for coming. >> thank you, senator corker. >> i really appreciate your understanding about my having to leave, and i'm sorry to my fellow panelists with whom i'd love to have a robust discussion assuming there were time, but it's not meant -- i just can't stay, so thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you.
ms. west. >> good afternoon, chairman menendez, ranking member corker, and members of the committee. i'm francis west, the worldwide directer of the human ability and accessibility center. in this role, i'm responsible for advancing ibm's accessibility leadership by driving technology solutions. i currently serve on the board of directers for the world institute on disability and u.s. business leadership network. i'm honored to provide ibm's point of view and ask for your support, and local understanding continues to grow. driven in part by an entirely new set of disruptive trend including the growing aging population, mobile and smart devices, social networks and emerging technology like smart tvs and wearable devices.
these create unprecedented demands for technologies that enhance user experiences and create more fulfilling interaction for any individual any time anywhere. radification advances the marketplace for accessibility information and communication technologies. this benefits the u.s. economy, businesses and individual citizens. we believe by the ratifying countries, we can accelerate two critical business imperatives that are foundational to market and job creation.
with our harmonized standards and employees with disability in any of the 96 countries ibm operates in, we'll have difficulties in using airport kiosks, assessing atms, using teleconferencing facilities, and multimedia digital contents through the computer and cell phone any time any place. we embrace standards of inclusion outlined in the ada and by extension, u.s. accessibility standards. so for the u.s. companies, it is familiar to implement. second, these harmonized standards protects our investment in accessible technology and help us achieve economy of scale ensuring
positive return on investments. finally, it helps to serve the u.s. access the to continue to lead innovation worldwide as crpd countries are investing in the access the, technology, leadership, and our ability to influence them is diminishing. now, on to the policy benefits. it is no exaggeration to say that in many cases, policies make markets. the u.s. section 508 was a rehabilitation act as a great example. prior to enactsment of the procurement policy, this marketplace was small, disoriented, and not an investment priority. however, section 508 and buying power the u.s. government transformed the market place and played a major role in defining it as a mainstream government and business requirement. u.s. ratification of the crpd will have a similar effect. in addition, by prioritizing e
call education and equal access, the crpd will create a larger talent poll for those with disabilities enabling companies with ibm to hire the best talent meeting the requirements associating with emerging policy such as section 503 of the rehab act. it's for these standard regions that ibm believes that the u.s. can solidify technology and leadership in the market place through the crpd participation. we believe that failure to act will produce quite the opposite effect over the long term stifling the ambition and dreams of people with disabilities, limiting market opportunities, and jeopardizing the u.s. ability to influence the global accessibility community. in conclusion, ibm is confident that u.s. ratification of the crpd will create global market place pull for accessible icp and reenforce the u.s. legacy
leadership position as a champion for full societal inclusion of people with diabetics. i thank you for attention. g thank you. >> thank you for inviting me, mr. chairman. i want to make three basic points, and they respond to what secretary kerry was saying, that this theetty will not require us to do a thing. he repeated that over and over again, will not require us to do a thing, but it will give us leverage on other countries, so my first point is we should stop and pause over this. how could it be that although they don't get leverage on us, we get a lot of leverage on them. on the face of it, that seems implausible. if it were true, and our having
ratified the convention on political rights that we ratified gives us leverage to make sure there is free speech in countries like north korea and cuba, both of which are parties to the civil and political rights allowing us to make sure there is freedom of religion in china, egypt, and pakistan countries, which are part of that convention. we should remind ourselves that if we can make a promise saying we're promising it doesn't mean anything because you can't force us, they also make the same promise in the same spirit. they say, oh, yeah, we sign on to this, but you can't force us to do anything. i think this is a little bit optimistic to think we should
pause over that too. a lot of countries in the world have real serious problems, hundreds of millions of people don't have access to clean water and, therefore they get all kinds of intestinal parasites, children are sick, and we say, no, forget about that. what you need is tact tile strips. that's the urgent priority because americans want to feel comfortable when they visit your country. around the world, there are countries with real problems with malnutrition, real problems with ill literal sigh, and we say that's not important. your highest priority should be buying equipment from ibm and other american companies that have made advanced equipment to deal with the problems of a small subset of your population, and the discussion today was not about their population, but about our population. i think we'll find it difficult to lean on other countries and say do this so that the americans, when they briefly visit your country, will be more comfortable. that's the first thing.
leverage on other countries is exaggerate the. the second thing is secretary kerry said no problem for america, and there's a lot of ada. they are operating in good faith to implement it, and the ada is more restrictive than the convention. it's true we can say to the implementing committee we're not listening. what do you mean they -- do we
want the right to decide that entirely for ourselves or commit, which this treaty would do to say, yes, we will take advice from the implementing committee there. there's property rights that do not constitute an unreasonable barrier to access to persons with disabilities. if it gets in the way of people with dates get access to maybe ibm products, why should ibm insist on patents since the committee -- sorry, the convention says you shouldn't do that. the last thing i want to say is
we have previously not ratified human rights conventions of this kind. the human rights conventions ratified up until now have been very basic american-style constitutional rights like freedom of religion and freedom of speech or opposing torture. this is a big step beyond that. this is much more like the covenant on economic and social rights which we have through a succession of presidents saying, no, we're not going there. that's too ambitious. that's not what we understand by human rights. if we ratify the convention, anything and everything could be something brought to us in the name of human rights, and we could commit to it and share with other other countries what decisions we make about how to regulate our economy, how to take care of poor people, old people, any kinds of people in the country. it's a very, very big step, and we should think about that before we say, yes, sure, we'll cross that bridge because we
want to help the disable. i think everybody in america, almost everybody, does want to help people who have disabilities. the question is do we want to do it in partnership with 138 countries? i think we ought to have the self-confidence to say we can decide these matters for ourselves, and we respect their rights to decide for themselves. thank you. >> thank you, professor bradley. >> chairman menendez, ranking member corker, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee. i want to emphasize at the beginning that i consider myself a strong supporter of the desire ability to protect the rights of the disabled and proud of the laws enacted in the area, including, of course, the americans with disability act, and i come here not as an opponent of the convention, but rather as someone who strongly believes that when the united states ratifies treaties, they should be attentive to how the treaties relate to u.s. constitutional standards and traditions. something i know that the senate is always concerned about.
this is a particular issue when it comes to human rights treaties, which, by their nature, focuses much more internally than traditional treaties, and thus pose issues for the u.s. legal system. a particular concern, in my view, is that the broad and vague terms, some of which you heard about today in the disabilities convention, could be used in a manner that would undermind the federal nature of the u.s. constitutional system. it's private, and without any limitation that normally apply to federal regulation of private conduct such as requirement of a connection to interstate commerce. although congress has broad authority in the absence of this treaty to protect the rights and
use the authority, there are limits in the system to how far congress can go with respect to the regulation of matters addressed by state and local governments. a 19-20 decision against holland, congress is allowed, however, to expands the legislative authority when it is passing legislation to implement a treaty. a concern has been raised, therefore, that congress, at any future time could use a disability convention if it is ratified as a basis for new legislation that would intrude in new ways on state and local authority beyond what congress could normally enact. the united states commitment to federalism, i think, depends on maintaining a national government of limited and enumerated powers, and i believe, therefore, that this issue should be addressed. i do think, fortunately, it is possible to adequately address this issue with an appropriate
reservation. i looked at the reservations proposed by the administration, however, and i think they are clearly not adequate. when you read the reservations closely, what you find is that they merely state that the government has not required to intrude on state and local authority, but they, in know way prevent the government from doing that. those who expressed concerns about the potential reach of the convention understandably want more assurance than that. it is not -- this is a rare disagreement between myself and mr. gray and not enough to point to the nonself-executing declaration, an important one, but all it does is prevent the convention right now from being litigated. it has no effect at all on the issue of the scope of congressional authority starting the day after the treaty's ratified to avoid state and local authority. it's a different issue. the proper way to address the issue instead is by to appropriately craft federalism reservation that expressive dise vows, expanding the authority
beyond what could do, expansionive already, in the absence of the convention. as i discussed in the written testimony, there -- this would not be -- this would not be the first time the senate adopts the reservation. i found three or four examples in which the senate has properly attached a similar reservation starting, for example, in the 1951 ratification of the charter of organization of american states, and i give some other examples in the testimony. these reservations make clear unlike what the administration proposed, just to quote one of them in the testimony, nothing in the convention confers any power on the congress to take action in fields previously yont the authority of congress. that's from a prior reservation from a different treaty, something like that, i think, is quite clearly needed here. the administration and i was quite encouraged by secretary kerry's testimony this morning. the administration should not be on the cigsal to the idea, and, indeed, secretary -- i'm reading
the testimony correctly, he seemed receptive to adding reservations along the lines that i'm suggesting here. the administration maintains existing law is satisfactory to meet the obligations of the united states under the treaty, so it should not claim the need not only for new laws, but laws that expand congress' authority beyond what it currently has, and my sense is that secretary kerry was acknowledging that. i address other issues in the written testimony in the role of the committee and nonseverability language. thank you. we think your testimony is important, and we want to explore it with you. thank you. senator shaheen. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
thank you to all panelists here testifying today. i apologize for having missed your testimony and very much appreciate your being here. i want to, before i get to the questions, recognize all veterans in the audience today. thank you for your service in attending this hearing, and i hope that at the time when more veterans such as you return home with injuries and disabilities that we can stand up and support your rights and protections, not only here in america, but around the globe. what he said at the last hearing
was powerful that we aspire to what's in the convention, this is what we're about as a nation including people giving them freedom, giving them rights, giving them the opportunity to work, to learn, to participate. suspect that what we're about? isn't what we want the rest of the world to be about? well, if we are not willing to say this is a good thing and say it formally, what are we about, really? for me, that sentiment captures what i think this treaty should be or not just the united states, but for the rest of the world. i wonder if i can ask the pammists starting with you, ms. west, if you could explain how ratification of the convention advances the goal of making sure that people
throughout the world have the same protections that people with dates here in the united states. because we're a technology company, we, and also, we look at the world from the perspective that the people and our customers and for the business, and in the area of disability because we are actually evolving the technology ton human centric. talking about human centric, that means everybody benefits from disability, not just a small group of people. aging populations, people who cannot speak certain languages all benefit from this, so we look at this, actually, is doing something that not only good for the business and not just good for the small segment of the
population, but actually for the entire population around the globe. i do want to make a comment about some of the emerging countries. yes, they do phase a lot of the issues like clean water and everything, but i think you will surprised that the government understand and in many cases, they actually have more people with disability in their population, so they actually appreciate having technologies and technology from countries like the united states who help them to deal with it. it's not an either/or situation, but it's beneficial for the people and citizens of the world and also for business. thank you. >> can you elaborate a little on the impact on u.s. businesses if we choose not to ratify the treaty and have a seat at the table, what will happen on issues around standards and standards development as you mentioned? is it accurate to say that we'd be forced to play a more reactive role than be proactive?
>> absolutely. we have come together in many cases forming committees studying standards of various areas. in the technology area, we already witness a different kind of a thinking, and right now, we still enjoy the leadership and we still enjoy technology standards leadership so we're still able to apply some of our influence, but over time, as you know, especially in the area of technology, it evolves quickly, and by not being there, i think we'll quickly lose our ability to impact, and once the standard is not harmonized based on the united states standards, for example, then all the business will suffer because that means we potentially have to create
different sets of product, dirvet sets of services, and that will adversely impact our ability to really expand commerce. >> thank you. any other panelists want to comment on that? >> yes. i know john lancaster. we are colleagues together on the board of directors on the united states institute of peace, and i dope mean at all to put words in his mouth, but one thing on which we would both agree is their limits to what the united states can expect to do in terms of influencing other countries, but one of the ways in which we can hope to secure a peaceful world is if we understand you don't have to be exactly what we'd like you to be. i am a little up easy having this openly said, we need to have international standards
that force other countries to buy american products. first of all, i'm skeptical that's going to work, but second of all, if it works, it's not going to make us popular. there's going to be a lot of resentment about that. we're saying to poor countries that don't spend money on things you think are important, spend money on american exports because there's an international treaty that doesn't require us to do anything, but requires you to buy our stuff. i think that's kind of a problem, and we should all be a little bit more uneasy about that than we seem to be. >> that's not my interpretation of what ms. west was saying. do you want to respond to that? >> yes. >> in any case, because of the american standards that we are a free society and people come together sharing best practices and that is a de facto standard,
other countries actually look to the standards because they know it's a combination of best practices. it's not a forced issue. it's not an action that we impose on people especially in the technology area that is a welcome standard because that means they don't have to spend time to go through trial and error that other companies and other industry have gone through so i would say that this is not an adversary situation. it's usually welcome very much by the global community. >> thank you. mr. bradley, do you want to comment? >> thank you. my view is probably in between these positions to some extent. my guess is that the united states will continue to be a leader even in the future, and even if it does not join the convention, why is that the case? it has some of the best laws in the area on the planet, and i imagine congress will continue
to make sure that's the case, and that would allow the united states to continue doing what it's done already, which was to serve as a good model regardless of whether it's party to the treaty. having said that, i actually do agree with secretary kerry that the united states is likely to gain at least some additional leverage both on the committee and more regimely if it's a party to the convention, so i think that is an advantage potentially of joining the convention, and so the emphasis of my testimony is simply that we should only do that if we're satisfied that we're doing it in a way consistent with u.s. law and particularly constitutional standards. thank you. >> thank you. one of the issues that was raised before at the previous hearing on this treaty had to do with concerns that have been raised by some groups about home schooling their children, and last year, the justice
department testified before the committee that the conventioning inning the phrase "best interest of the child" would be applied consistent with current u.s. law and not require a change to existing law. i wonder if -- as i have looked at the treaty, i don't see that there is a threat here to paimpts who'd like to home school their children and just wonder if that's a concern, mr. bradley, that you have heard about the treaty and what your thinking is about whether that's an issue with the current wording. >> yes, thank you. i believe i do understand that concern. one of the issues that arises when you have a treaty like this is negotiated among a large group of countries. by definition, therefore, the languages are vague and broad,
implications unclear. communities in the united states, like the home schooling community, i think quite understandably want some assurance about what the implications of the treaty will be, and you're absolutely right that the main assurance they've gotten is an assurance that the convention will not require a change to existing practice and law. what i'm urging is that this committee in the senate can give more assurance than that and make clear that it will not allow a change from what our constitutional permits in terms of regulation of issues in the family an in terms in home schooling. i think, in my view, if the community had that greater reassurance that should be sufficient to address the concerns as i understand them. >> so are you suggesting expressed language that would address that? is that what you're suggesting? >> in my view, it would be enough if the committee were to endorse the federalism reservations i have suggested
which make clear the convention will -- can want be viewed by the government to expand its authority in any local traditional state domain including the home school issue, but not limited to it, i think, in my opinion, that should address those concerns taking off the table the possibility that i think they are worried about which is next year after the convention would be put into force. there's some intrusion that would not normally have been allowed, but now would be allowed under the convention, even though not required, and so i think the general reservations i'm suggesting should address the concern as i understand it, and you wouldn't need an additional one for home schooling, although an understanding that is already proposed that says this does not affect home schooling, which i certainly would be quite welcome. >> thank you.