(WASHINGTON, DC - November 20, 2007) On Thursday night, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to override President Bush's veto of the fiscal year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill by a margin of just two votes. This legislation contains the actual funding for the provisions of the Combating Autism Act (CAA), the critical legislation passed last year that authorized $940 million in funding for autism research, surveillance, treatment and intervention over the next five years. The bill contained significant increases in all HHS programs for autism.
The failure of the House to override President Bush's veto is a huge disappointment. There is a significant dispute between the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill on the overall funding levels for the bill. Unfortunately, the funding for the CAA is caught in the middle of this battle. Autism Speaks is committed to fully funding the implementation of the CAA, and will continue to look for avenues to do so as Congress winds up its work for the year next month.
It is entirely possible your Congressman will have another opportunity to vote on an appropriations bill that will decide the fate of the funding for the Combating Autism Act.
Listed below are the results of the vote to override President Bush's veto of the appropriations bill that included funding of the Combating Autism Act. Represented are two groups: those Congressmen who knowingly voted against research dollars for your children, and those who simply failed as your representatives on this matter to cast a vote at all.
If only two of the following Representatives had chosen to vote yes on the veto override, almost all the funds authorized by the CAA would have been appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2008 budget. Another way to look at it, if only two of the Representatives listed below had bothered to vote, and voted yes, we would have received millions of dollars for research in 2008 specifically allocated for autism.
We encourage you to express gratitude to those who did vote yes for this bill and to express your thoughts to those who chose to vote against funding the Combating Autism Act this year and those who, again, chose not to participate in this vote at all.