Senate Committee Unanimously Passes the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act

September 7, 2011

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Senators Enzi and Harkin
Senators Enzi and Harkin

pdf File Talking Points (236KB) [download]

doc File Sample Letter (27KB) [download]

pdf File AUCD Press Release on HELP Committee Passage (60KB) [download]


The House of Representatives will vote September 20 on its version of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2005). It will use a fast-track procedure that requires two-thirds of members present to vote for the bill. Although the Senate bill (S. 1094) was passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the full Senate is expected to wait until the House acts and then pass the House bill through a similar fast-track process. The House and Senate bills are identical. Additionally, the continuing resolution being considered in the House (see FY 2012 Appropriations below) contains language to maintain funding for activities under the Combating Autism Act until November 18 in case Congress does not pass the reauthorization bill before September 30, the day the original law expires. See AUCD's Action Center to contact your members of Congress.


  1. Contact all of your Representatives (if you are a LEND/University Center, you represent the whole state).  Message: Vote for H.R. 2005 when it comes up for a vote under "Suspension of the Rules".
  2. Share this alert and ask other stakeholders in your state to take action too!

To call, dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your Member.  Ask to speak to the person working on health or disability issues. If you received a personal email from AUCD with specific contact information, contact that staffer directly by email. You can also contact your members of Congress in person or by email using AUCD's Action Center

Contact Kim Musheno if you need more information or to report on your contacts. 


In 2006, President Bush signed into law the Combating Autism Act (CAA, PL 109-416).  The law focused on expanding research and coordination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), increasing awareness programs and surveillance at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and expanding the interdisciplinary training of health professionals to identify and support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families through programs of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  Section 399BB (e) specifically authorizes the expansion of the LEND programs to increase their efforts to train professionals to diagnose or rule out autism spectrum disorders or other developmental disabilities and to develop and provide evidence-based interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Due to "sunset" language, this law will expire if it is not reauthorized by September 30, 2011.  On May 26, bipartisan bills were introduced in both chambers to extend the law for an additional three years at FY 2011 funding levels.  The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (S. 1094) is sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), ranking minority member of the Senate HELP Committee, along with Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL).  Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (R-PA), co-chairs of the Bipartisan Caucus on Autism, introduced a companion bill (H.R. 2005).