Congressman Joe Barton Blocks
Key Legislation to Fight Autism

Not sure if you've noticed, but autism is on the increase in a big, big way. If you don't know any autistic people, be clear that this condition isn't cute, funny or easily managed, as you saw in Rain Man. It causes untold suffering to an astonishing number of children. It's also a source of continual grief and stress to their parents, many of whom lack the resources to cope with it. The result is that they're forced to spend inordinate time and energy getting the help they need.

During the lifetimes of many of us we've conquered smallpox, polio and tuberculosis. It's time for autism to be eradicated with the same energy and determination.

The Combating Autism Act of 2006 is a crucial first step toward finally preventing this devastating condition, as well as supplying the resources needed by families of autistic children. This landmark legislation will:

  • Double NIH spending on autism research.
  • Empower the Director of the NIH to act as an "autism czar" - developing an annual research budget on autism, based on the best science, and requiring that budget be reported to Congress.
  • Create a screening program in all 50 states for the early identification of children with autism - short of a cure, early identification leading to early intervention with behavioral services provides the best available outcomes for autistic kids.
  • Fund the efforts of the Autism Treatment Network to identify the best medical practices in the treatment of autistic kids.
  • Continue funding of the epidemiological and public education programs on autism at the CDC.
  • Authorize, overall, nearly 1 billion of federal spending on autism over the next 5 years - a multi-front war on autism from public awareness and early diagnosis to basic biomedical research.
The Senate passed The Combating Autism Act of 2006, and more than 250 members of the House have pledged to support it. So why hasn't the House of Representatives voted on this bill and passed it to the President to sign into law?

Three words: Congressman Joe Barton.

He chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. For reasons that could only make sense to a true scumbag, he doesn't want to release the act from his committee for consideration by the House of Representatives.

Let Congressman Joe Barton know how you feel about the way he's single-handedly preventing autistic children in America from getting the help they need.

Here's his contact information:

Washington Office
2109 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2002
(202) 225-3052 fax

Arlington Office
6001 West I-20, Suite 200
Arlington, Texas 76017
(817) 543-1000
(817) 548-7029 fax

Ennis Office
2106 A W. Ennis Ave.
Ennis, Texas 75119
(817) 543-1000
(972) 875-1907 fax

Crockett Office
303 N. 6th St.
Crockett, TX 75835
(936) 544-8488

You can also call toll free -- (877) 263-2833 -- from areas in Texas's Sixth District.

The Combating Autism website also has a form you can use, if you'd like to go that route.

And for those of you in Texas's sixth district, please, get serious: sweep Joe Barton out of office this November.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled artblog.

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Candy Minx said...

Wow, Bill waht a passionate post, and you know it makes sense...seeing as so many chiclden who are autistic are avid artists! It is a mysterious condition and deserves our attention. A long time ago I worked ina group home with autistic and downs syndrome kids...just improvong their nutritional intake with whole foods, and avoiding sugar was ana amazing thing to see their response and attention spans tweak. It can be incredible what a little help can do to go a long way. Good post. I'll make sure my boyfriend reads this(I'm Canadian) and writes one of these places, okay?

Lisa Hunter said...

Thanks for the post, Bill. My two-year-old was recently diagnosed with mild autism, so I definitely appreciate your rallying efforts.

Anonymous said...

Mad Mom here. America, you can do more than write letters to this guy. You can vote for Democrats November 7. If the Democrats take over the house, scumbag Barton loses his position as chairman of energy and commerce. Why is this important? Because he is not only blocking the vote on the CAA, but he is allowing TXU to build coal-burning power plants across Texas. These plants will spew toxins, including mercury, into our already filthy air. A common co-morbid condition for our autistic children is asthma. I'll stay in Texas despite the ridiculous waiting lists for services for my son. I'll stay despite the fact that I'm paying tax money into schools that cannot serve him. But I will not stay if he can't breathe. This isn't partisan - This is about getting Barton OUT.

charlie's mom said...

Thank you for your strong words. I am still in the same shock as I was 6yrs ago when my son was first diagnosed. Reseatch is helpful, of course, but where is the funding for him now. I cannot believe one man has the ability to hurt so many children. If this disease was in his family, I bet he'd see things differently. Fortunately, these children are only given to those of us with a strong heart and broad shoulders.

Team Jack Attack said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Team Jack Attack said...

Sorry about that mispost ... it's late and I was a little eager on the "submit" button.

Thanks for your comments. You can read about my sweet little 3-year old autistic son at http://www.teamjackattack.com. We also have a word or two on the site about Joe Barton. It's amazing that this clown can thwart the will of the entire U.S. Senate and a sizeable majority of the House.