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Reauthorizing the Combating Autism Act?

Posted Mar 09 2011 8:08pm

The Combating Autism Act (CAA) committed the US government to fund autism research. As part of this effort, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) was re-authorized (it actually predated the CAA, having been established under the Children’s Health Act of 2000)

At the end of the last congress, a Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) was presented. It was a nice move by Sentator Dodd as he was retiring, but as you will read if you follow the link, that bill is dead:

This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven’t passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.

If you go to the Senate’s webpage and enter “autism” as a search term for current bills, you will get two. Neither is the re-authorization of the CAA. Similar results come from searching Thomas for autism.

Sometimes I think, I just can’t find it. But it really isn’t there. In their piece Urge Congress to Reintroduce the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act! , “The Child Health Site” is asking people to sign a petition to reintroduce CARA.

The text of the original CAA you will find the following (or similar) a number of times: Sunset.—This section shall not apply after September 30, 2011.

Authorization for funding will sunset this year. The IACC will sunset this year. That is, of course, unless a re-authorization occurs. I haven’t seen much from the national autism organizations calling for action on this. There is undoubtedly much going on behind the scenes, but it strikes this observer that perhaps something should have happened by now.

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