First, the good news: the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which would provide $900 million in funding for research and services over the next five years, has 190 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the advocacy group Combat Autism. That means proponents have convinced about 50 new House members to join as co-sponsors since August 7, and are 28 co-sponsors short of a majority. The bill has already passed the Senate. You can read a recap here, which includes links to House and Senate versions of the bill.
Now for a sobering thought: there's one week left in this year's term, as Congress prepares to go home for the stretch run of members' re-election campaigns. As this New York Times article suggests, there's a lot left on politicians' plates-- and autism legislation doesn't make the front burner, what with issues like Iraq, definitions of torture, port security and immigration, just to name four. House and Senate leaders tell The Times that they will reconvene for a lame-duck session after the election, which means there will be time to work on some last-minute business.
But it doesn't leave much time, either way. You can go to this branch of the Autism Speaks website to see if your House member is a co-sponsor. If that person is, great. If not, you could consider sending a note or e-mail pointing out the merits of the legislation. And if you know friends or family who care about helping people with autism advance in society, and who care about researching the causes of this spectrum of disabilities, you can ask them to check if their House member is on board. If not, consider that election time is a good moment to get a House member's attention about something a constituent cares about, deeply.