Senate gets emotional with passage of Americans with Disabilities Act

July 13, 1990: Sen. Tom Harkin, a chief sponsor of the bill, delivered part of his speech on the Senate floor in sign language.
2:39 | 03/09/20

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Transcript for Senate gets emotional with passage of Americans with Disabilities Act
We begin tonight with civil rights for 43 million Americans who are physically disabled. After one of its most moving sessions in years the senate has passed legislation. Which guarantees people with disabilities greater access to everyday American life better access to jobs and end in time. To the frustration that is able feel when traveling or shopping or eating in a restaurant or try to make what should be a simple called the public phone Booth. One of the bill's sponsors said today that it marked the end of a condescending approach to Americans with disabilities here's ABC's Carole Simpson. There yours support for the bill was so overwhelming that instead of partisan debate the session was marked by emotion. And the eloquence of silence. Senator Harkin of Iowa delivered remarks first in sign language. Greg just wanted to say to my brother friend that today we say you know the fear. We say no to ignorance and that we say no prejudice many of us. Have been a touch with those with disabilities resistance grows very retarded. Son who lost elect can't. I want to pay tribute to my. Brother in law. Who contracted both types of polio. And as a college student undergraduate. This young man went through unholy hell. And he was probably. Sorry I feel so emotional about this but he was probably. Without question out of in my own brother who was killed in the Second World War the greatest inspiration. Duncan determines to do what is right and make his life force world. And anybody in my life. The final vote to pass the bill was 91 to six. Among the sweeping changes. Businesses with more than fifteen workers we'll have to take reasonable steps to meet the physical needs of employees with disabilities. New buses trains and subway cars must be accessible to people in wheelchairs. Restaurants and stores and other businesses that cater to the public may not refuse to serve people with disabilities. After final passage today a celebration. It's hard to estimate how much the new law will cost. A small business may have to only make minor changes. A city could have to spend millions to install wheelchair lifts on buses. President Bush has been an ardent supporter of the bill and could sign it as early as next week. Carole Simpson ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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