Averting the so-called fiscal cliff isn’t the only order of business for Congress this week. The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the coming days that would help assure the health and well-being of people living with disabilities.

The Senate would need to approve the treaty by two-thirds vote before it can be ratified by President Barack Obama who already signed the treaty back in 2009. Currently, 126 nations and international organizations have ratified the convention.

The treaty itself is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and would protect Americans living and working abroad under those same standards. It’s also thought to heighten global awareness around the needs of people with disabilities.

“U.S. ratification of the [treaty] is consistent with our nation’s commitment to fully implement and enforce U.S. disability laws and ensure that children and adults with disabilities receive the health care, education, transportation and employment opportunities vital to participate fully in all aspects of life,” wrote Georges Benjamin, APHA’s executive director, in a letter to Senate leadership earlier this year.

During talks on Tuesday, some Senators pushing for the treaty called it a reflection of our values of a nation, diplomatic tool and opportunity to learn from others internationally.

On Dec. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will host a Twitter chat with several health partners, including the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Lakeshore Foundation, APHA and others to commemorate International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The chat will take place at 3 p.m. EST via #IDPDchat.

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