One thing I have learned over the past few years is that getting my hopes up that Congress can accomplish anything is a lost cause. One would think, at least one that is rational and uses their brain would think, that extending funding for research and therapies autism would be a slam dunk. That same rational person would be wrong.
I have written a few times over the last few months urging people to call their representative and urge them to extend the funding for CARA. I have called numerous members of Congress a number of times, most recently Eric Cantor, to express my view that they should support this measure. Autism is non-partisan, and affects families that support every political position. Shoot, Cantor blocked a House vote on the same exact bill he introduced 5 years ago when it came up for renewal (CARA) and finally came around. With Cantor done playing politics with CARA, it passed the House overwhelmingly this week, and headed back to the Senate.
Where it promptly hit another roadblock in the form of Tom Coburn and a few colleagues. I am completely blown away that someone that was a practicing MD would show such blatant disregard for medical research, just so he could play politics. And Coburn and friends pass themselves off as “leaders” for our country; newsflash, what they are doing is not leadership, but they don’t see that.
To say that DC is dysfunctional at this point is an understatement. A lot of work must be done for the politicians to remotely get close to being dysfunctional. I urge you to call Senator Coburn’s office to get him on board. Autism is not a game, and the loss of funding for research and development of therapies would be devastating. I doubt he cares. I am proud of Senators like Chuck Schumer who have been pushing for the extension of CARA for months; they refuse to stand in the way of progress.
It is times like this that I realize why I cannot be a politician. I cannot bring myself to be as useless as most of them are, and I could not justify accepting a paycheck for doing no work at all.
For more on CARA and Senator Coburn’s games, check out http://www.autismvotes.org
It took a little longer than it should have, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ended his ridiculous blocking of the extension of CARA today. There will be no interruption in funding for autism research or therapies. What took so long still baffles me.
I called Mr. Cantor yesterday and today to express my disdain for his actions, and I was just one of many to do so. It is sad that so many people had to overload his office just so he would do the right thing. Such is politics, I guess.
Today was a good day for the autism community. I am happy that our politicians came together to pass this important bill, even if some took longer than the rest to come around.
I wish I could express shock, but sadly, I cannot. On September 7, I wrote of my disbelief that CARA had passed the Senate unanimously (SB 1094). I also wrote of my hope that the House would drop the partisan games and do the same.
But they have not. Instead, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is blocking a floor vote on HR 2005, which is basically SB 1094 with House of Representatives designation.
It really is sad that this game is being played. Our country has come to expect so little work being done in Washington, and when they cannot even pass bills such as CARA, it is even more evident.
“Angry blogger” will now, as calmly as possible, call Mr. Cantor daily to express my disgust in his blocking of a vote. In an ironic twist, Mr. Cantor helped to write the bill in 2005; such is the idiocy of politics…you write a bill and it passes, and when the time comes for the same bill to be extended, you block it. Pardon the expression, but that is like wiping before sitting down to take care of business…it just makes no sense.
Please join me in calling Mr. Cantor. His office number is 202-225-4000. Call frequently, and maybe he will get the message. My guess is that he will not.
In a town where pretty much nothing gets done, today’s news out of Washington, D.C. is just unbelievable.
Somehow, some way, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, Senate Bill 1094, passed the Senate today. Not only did it pass, it passed unanimously. I had to read the article several times before I really believed that it happened.
This is really good news for individuals on the spectrum and their families. The bill will continue funding for autism research, into finding causes, and developing therapies to improve the lives of those on the spectrum.
The bill will now have to pass the House, and it is my hope that they will also drop the partisan games and pass the bill as well. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, and knowing Washington, there is at best a 50-50 chance they don’t screw this up somehow.
Senate Bill 1094, the Combating Autism Authorization Act (more here) is still just sort of sitting out there, looking for support. In recent weeks, more and more Senators have gotten on board in support, including Senator Schumer (D-NY). The bill is a bi-partisan effort to extend funding for autism research.
Autism spectrum disorders know no party affiliation. ASD does not care if you come from a Democratic or Republican family. It is frustrating that more of our representatives have not shown their support yet. It defies logic in my book.
Today, I called the office of both Florida Senators. Bill Nelson’s office assured me that he would be supporting the bill soon. Marco Rubio’s office did not answer, so I left a message asking when his support would come.
I will be calling each office at least weekly until they are on board. Senator Nelson can be reached at 202-224-5274 and Senator Rubio can be reached at 202-224-3041. I plan on being persistent with each of them until they show their support.