The US House of Representatives passed the Autism CARES Act of 2019 on a voice vote on July 24! Huge thank you to everyone who contacted your elected officials to let them know how much this law matters to you!!
The Senate should take up the bill in a few weeks. While Senators Markey and Warren are cosponsors of Autism CARES, you can let friends/family in other states know to contact their senators. A listing of the current 31 Senate cosponsors can be found here.
You do not need to be an expert in the intricacies of Autism CARES to make a difference. It’s important to call your two senators to let them know your personal connection to autism and urge them to cosponsor the bill. In addition, here’s a sample letter you can use/edit. Please add a few sentences at the beginning to personalize why autism is important to YOU:
Email subject: Co-Sponsor the Autism CARES Act of 2019, S.427
Dear Senator __,
Please cosponsor the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2019 (Autism CARES), S. 427. The Autism CARES Act of 2019 would continue the activities authorized under the Autism CARES Act of 2014, placing a new emphasis on improving lifespan services and reducing disparities. Prompt congressional action is essential since parts of the Autism CARES Act of 2014 will sunset after September 30, 2019.
Under the authority of the Autism CARES Act of 2014 and predecessor legislation, more than $3.1 billion has been dedicated to autism activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Funding has supported NIH research, including center and network grants through the Autism Centers of Excellence program; developmental disabilities surveillance at CDC; and training, research, and state implementation and planning at HRSA. The HRSA-supported programs include 52 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) training programs, which provide interdisciplinary training to improve the health of children, as well as 12 Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics training programs, which support fellows in developmental-behavioral pediatrics and provide practitioners, residents, and medical students with essential skills.
The Autism CARES Act of 2019 continues the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which coordinates federal efforts and provides advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues related to autism. The IACC’s responsibilities include monitoring research, services, and supports across the federal government. Another important responsibility of the IACC is developing a strategic plan for the conduct and support of autism research. The IACC’s periodic meetings are open to the public and serve as a forum on issues important to the community.
The Autism CARES Act of 2019 calls for the preparation of a report on the health and well-being of individuals with autism. This report would follow upon the report prepared under the Autism CARES Act of 2014 on young adults and transitioning youth with autism, which highlighted the challenges young people with autism face in transitioning from school-based services to adult services.
Thank you for considering cosponsoring the Autism CARES Act of 2019.
Questions? Contact AFAMoffice@yahoo.com