We have learned that House Majority Leader Cantor has affirmed his pledge not to allow the federal commitment for autism to expire by supporting the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011 and allowing the bill to go to the House floor for a vote early next week. Thank you so much for all your hard work the last few days in sending him emails and making phone calls.==============
I've got several blogposts backed up in a jumble in my mind, but I'm going to hit an urgent advocacy-alert one first.
The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CARA) needs our help to pass by September 30th.
CARA is a 3-year re-authorization of federal funding that's been in place since 2006, which was first passed during the GW Bush administration. The funding focuses on expanding research and coordination through the National Institutes of Health, increasing awareness and surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and expanding the interdisciplinary training of health professionals to identify and support children with ASD and their families.
For me on a very concrete level, growing from how Joy has propelled me into autism advocacy -- this is what funded my LEND training two years ago, an amazing program that Elvis Sightings readers heard about at length as my LEND year progressed. Via a state implementation grant, it also made possible the summer work that I did in 2010 on a recently-released publication called Finding Your Way: A Navigation Guide for Families Who Have Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities.
On a macro level, this funding has helped with great strides in research and education and awareness all across the country. We can't let it stop now!
The key legislator right now is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was a co-sponsor of the original 2006 act and must bring CARA to the House floor for a vote in order for it to pass. UPDATE: He pledged to do it!!
Call House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and politely ask him to allow the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2005) to go to the floor for a vote. CALL HERE: 202-225-4000
What to say:
"Hi. My name is [name] and I am calling to ask Leader Cantor to allow HR 2005, The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, to go to the House floor for a vote. The funding is crucial for research and awareness on autism, and support for children with autism and their families. Thank you."
If you've got another couple of minutes, here are some quick next-steps:
1) Follow up the call to Cantor's office with an e-mail --
2) E-mail your own Senators & Representative: if you follow this link to the Autism Society "Vote 4 Autism" page, you can read more about CARA and then click on the "Take Action" button to send messages to your legislators.
Thank you so much, in advance!
P.S. The initiative is crucial but the title of the law is... unfortunate. I like the acronym CARA much better, meaning "dear" or "beloved" in several languages.