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The Combating Autism Act of 2006 is up for reauthorization.  The new bill is called CARA (S-1094/HR-2005) It is not a new spending bill.  It simply continues the work begun in 2006 under George W. Bush (who signed it into law) of coordinating the Federal response to the autism crisis (1 out of 110 kids born today) by focusing resources toward the most effective and efficient areas of scientific research and inquiry. The bill also created the Interagency Coordinating Committee (IACC) so your and my tax dollars are spent efficiently, not reinventing the wheel.  By any measure, the CAA has been highly effective and must be renewed.

CARA enjoys the kind of broad and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress that one can only dream of seeing with any regularity, Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a physican no less, has put a personal "hold" on this bill.  In my book that sounds like an unconscionable and unforgiveable "shakedown" of disabled kids and adults.  Apparently he's after something that's worth stepping on disabled Americans to get. Again, have you no decency, Sen. Coburn? More below the fold.

Nearly every stakeholder and stakeholder group in the autism community (there are very few exceptions) supports this bill.  You can read some background on the hold here, here:
and here:

Kids and adults with autism, their families, the professionals (from clinicians to teachers to therapists) who provide care to people with autism, the scientists doing research to learn about this wide spectrum condition affecting nearly 1% of kids born today and 1 in 60 boys. Even research institutions in Coburn's own State support this reauthorization!

As a result of the CAA, the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City received funding...

The Senate HELP Committee passed this bill.  The House of Representatives passed this bill. The Senate will pass this bill if it's allowed a "thumbs up or thumbs down" vote on the floor.  The President said he'd sign this bill when it hits his desk.  So why is Tom Coburn preventing the Democratic process from taking place by invoking a Senate "rule" at the expense of disabled Americans?

The "(again)" in the title of my post refers to the shameful hold that Rep. Joe Barton (R-Apologies to BP) put on the original 2006 legislation. It held until the spotlight and attention got too hot for him and he finally released the bill.  You may recall Imus calling Barton every name in the book (and then some) daily over this hold until he finally relented.  The problem with CARA is that we don't have time to mount a long campaign and Coburn knows this.  The original CAA legislation "sunsets" at the end of the month (a week away) if not renewed and it'll disappear forever.  That means back to the pre 2006 days when the the scarce research being done was all parent driven and funded and without much impact.  That is why the CAA was and still is necessary.  Even today, autism research funding is literally a drop in the bucket versus any other major disorders or diseases...(Again, from the above cited source)

...notwithstanding the fact more children will be diagnosed this year with autism than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined.
"Senator Coburn is the last man standing between our kids and the continued federal commitment they deserve," said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. "Two-thirds of the U.S. House of Representatives, an overwhelming majority of the Senate, and the President of the United States have all come together to support CARA. One Senator is using an arcane procedural power to thwart the will of the entire elected government of our nation.

"Senator Coburn is committing political malpractice," Bell said.

Our community needs your help.  Call this guy out! Please help us make him stand aside. All it takes is a minute or two.  The link is here:

Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 3:24 AM PT: Update: Thank you! Sen. Menendez prevailed on Sen. Coburn to release his unconscionable hold.  CARA passed the Senate unanimously late last night and is on the President's desk, where he will sign it.  Every single call And email helped.

Originally posted to Critical Dune on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Parenting on the Autism Spectrum and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "Those dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and the Yosemite is to California." - Carl Sandburg

    by Critical Dune on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 11:47:18 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, I sent my letter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieJo, worldlotus

    I got an alert from my local SEPAC as well.

    Funding is getting tighter and tighter for our program.  I brought a bunch of school supplies and snacks in for the room.  I was there the other day and a teacher came in looking for snacks for a hungry kid, the teacher said they didn't have anything.  Budget cuts.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 12:16:13 PM PDT

  •  Edit needed (0+ / 0-)

    The diary says:

    nearly 10% of kids born today and 1 in 60 boys.

    I suspect you mean "1% of kids" not 10%, otherwise this statement would require a rate of 16.6% for girls.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 12:21:16 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, worldlotus

    Here's the direct info for calling Coburn's office (from the Autism Votes site):

    Senator Coburn is the last man standing between our kids and the continued federal commitment they deserve for research and treatment. Two-thirds of the House, led by Majority Leader Cantor, an overwhelming majority of the Senate, and the President of the United States have all come together to support CARA...except Senator Coburn who is using procedure to thwart the will of the entire elected government of our nation, not to mention the will of the people. Call his office at 202.224.5754. Politely say, "Hi, please allow The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act to go to the Senate floor for a vote. Thanks!"

    If you visit the site directly, you can fill in the form to send an e-mail too.

    If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

    by AnnieJo on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 12:22:21 PM PDT

  •  Critical Dune, letter & email sent. Will pass (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, AnnieJo

    along to listservs I am a member of & to others for action.  One listserv has thousands of members-all with kiddos with a dual dx of DS and ASD.

    Thank you for posting this!

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