The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill must now be passed by the Senate.

 

The House of Representatives has approved the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA). Video is available at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/HouseSessionPart274.  The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

The original Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006 authorized nearly $1 billion of federal spending through 2011 on autism research, surveillance and treatment. It will sunset on September 30, 2011 unless reauthorized.  CARA will continue funding at current levels, authorizing $693 million over the next three years. The CAA also required the federal government to create an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and to develop a strategic plan to expand and coordinate the nation’s support for people with autism and their families. This will also continue under CARA. 

Congress is also currently working on a Continuing Resolution (C.R.) - H.J.Res. 79 - that contains a provision relevant to the Combating Autism Act, inserted in case the reauthorizing bill is not signed by September 30.  Although the main purpose of a C.R is to keep the government running after the end of the fiscal year on September 30, (so it is considered “must-pass” legislation) this particular C.R. also contains a provision that would extend the sunset provisions of the Combating Autism Act until the expiration of the C.R. on November 18.  Of course, if the CAA itself is signed into law, this would not be necessary; its purpose is to provide a temporary reprieve so that the IACC and other CAA programs continue beyond September 30 in the event the CAA is not signed into law by that time.   At this time, the C.R. has not been passed in either House or the Senate.  However, if it is enacted with the Combating Autism Act provision in place, the current IACC will be extended until November 18 or until the separate reauthorization becomes law.