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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CARA is Up for a Vote

On Tuesday, September 20, 2011, the House is scheduled consider H.R. 2005 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on May 26, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce.

The bill would extend and reauthorize appropriations through FY2014 for programs established under the Combating Autism Act of 2006, including: (1) the surveillance and research program for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities (FY2012-2014 $22,000,000 each fiscal year for a total of $66,000,000); (2) the education, early detection, and intervention program for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities; (FY2012-FY2014 $48,000,000 each fiscal year for a total of $144,000,000) and (3) the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (FY 2012-2014 $161,000,000 each fiscal year for a total of $483,000,000).
On Sunday, The Washington Times ran an article by Judith Ursitti, director of State Government Affairs at Autism Speaks.

The September 30th deadline looms. The Congressional agenda is very full. We literally need an Act of Congress and we need it before the end of this month.

That said, slowly but surely, things are moving. Due in great part to a huge grassroots push last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on CARA this week. Things are less certain in the Senate, where the CARA legislation passed unanimously out of the Senate HELP committee a couple of weeks ago, but has yet to be taken up on the floor.

It is not an exaggeration to say that every day of the next two weeks will be critical. Congress is focused on many consuming issues and it is up to us to make sure that they don’t leave families and providers who walk in the word of autism a step behind.


Please do what you can, in any way you can, to help ensure that CARA is signed into law by September 30th. It’s actually fairly easy to do. Just consider doing one or more of the following:

• Keep up with the movement of this critical legislation simply by registering for advocacy alerts at Autism Votes and ask friends and family to do the same.


Find out where your U.S. Senator and Congress Member stands and contact them.

• Click through and share action alerts when you receive them. (Bonus if you’re wearing your bathrobe and slippers!)

• Program your congressman and senator’s phone numbers into your cell and dial when alerted.

• Know what you are advocating for. Read the text and history of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, available on Autism Votes' CARA page.