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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Obama Signs CARA

Without a speech or a ceremony -- only a brief statement and a White House blog post -- the president yesterday signed the Combating Autism Act. The Bergen Record reports:

President Obama signed a bill Friday authorizing $691 million over three years to continue programs focused on autism research, education and services.

“There is a consensus that an all-out, sustained commitment is needed,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-Robbinsville

Smith is a longtime advocate for the federal government playing a major role in combating autism, which some studies have shown is more prevalent in New Jersey than other states.

The bill continues the work of a 2006 law that needed to be reauthorized so research efforts and services to families would not be disrupted. Smith was in the Oval Office as Obama signed the bill. He and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also helped convince Senate Republicans to drop their opposition so the bill could pass unanimously.

There is an error in the report: even if the authorization had lapsed, there would have been no effect on services to families. The reporter may have been thinking about IDEA, a different law.