The bill which authorizes funding for the US federal government’s autism research effort expires this September. The re authorization bill is called the Autism CARES Act (Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014). The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill and it passed the Senate HELP Committee. If it passes the Senate and gets signed by the President (pretty likely) it’s a law.
It is now waiting to be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
The last time the research authorization bill was passed (the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act), the reauthorization happened at the last minute: September 30th. A new Committee to advise and plan autism research didn’t start work until the next July. This IACC met for the last time a few weeks ago, so if events go as before it will be a full year without stakeholder input on autism research. If Autism CARES passes soon, the government can start working on a new committee earlier and the delay will hopefully be shorter.
The Senate will go on recess at the end of the week (by law they have the month of August off). So now would be a good time to remind them to bring this to the floor and get it moving.
Autism Speaks has set up a handy web app to help you do this: http://bit.ly/SensCall. Click it, input a little information and it calls you back and sets up the call for you to your senators’ offices.
FaxZero lets you send 5 faxes a day from the web and they have a handy web interface to help guide you to your own (or any other senator). That is http://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php
Want to fax everyone in the senate in one fell swoop? For about $10, http://www.faxyouropinion.com/senators will send the same message to each senator. Don’t worry, they change the “Dear….” line for you.
Want to send those 5 free faxes from FaxZero and wonder who might be someone worth faxing? Well, there’s a set of groups who have been trying to block Autism CARES. These groups set up a list of targeted senators (all these groups are in the “vaccines cause autism” persuasion, 3 directly associated with Andrew Wakefield…yeah, sit back, do nothing and Andrew Wakefield will help shape U.S. autism policy for you. Now that’s a cheery thought!)
Here’s their list. (Their staffs are very nice. One Senator goes straight to voicemail, though).
Senator Rand Paul in Kentucky
Senator Ted Cruz in Texas
Senator Mike Lee in Utah
Senator Tom Coburn in Oklahoma
Senator Roy Blunt in Missouri
Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin
Senator Jim Risch in Idaho
Calls only take a minute. You can just call and say, “I’m autistic and I want Autism CARES brought to the floor. Please support it” or “I’m the parent of an autistic kid and I want Autism CARES brought to the floor. Please support it”. Or you can say “Please kill the Autism CARES Act”. It’s your Senate. Use it.
By Matt Carey
Note: I serve as a public member to the present IACC, the committee which is authorized by the Combating Autism Act. My comments here and elsewhere are always my own.