The Arc of Whatcom County

The Arc of Whatcom County

Parent Coalition E-alert: June 2011

In This Issue

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Know Your Legislators



Sen. Maria Cantwell



Sen. Patty Murray


2nd District

Rep. Rick Larsen


42nd District


Sen. Doug Ericksen



Rep. Vincent Buys



Rep. Jason Overstreet



40th District


Sen. Kevin Ranker



Rep. Kristine Lytton



Rep. Jeff Morris


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There are major issues before Congress that will impact individuals with developmental disabilities. Please read below and understand the impact on you and/or your family. You can make a difference by taking action TODAY.


If you need information or assistance, please contact Monica, Co-Coordinator of The Parent Coalition: (360)715-0170 x303,   




The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011 would reauthorize the landmark Combating Autism Act of 2006, securing the federal response to the national and public health concern of autism spectrum disorders.


U.S. Senator Patty Murray (WA) has not cosigned onto The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011. She sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee where S. 1094 - CARA, which will renew the original law, will be heard first.


Senators have less than 24 HOURS to sign on to the bill. 


If you support this bill, please call Senator Murray to encourage her sponsorship and let her know how very important to you that this bill be favorably reported out of the HELP Committee.  The Act provides funding for research and training programs affecting people with autism and other developmental disabilities. This legislation ensures that the programs established under the original law continue for an additional three years, including research, surveillance, awareness, and treatment efforts. These programs will expire in September of this year if Congress does not act.


Even if you have shared your story before, there is nothing more powerful than sharing your personal experience. Please contact your elected officials about your support service needs. YOU can make the difference.



What is happening in Washington, DC?

The federal government has nearly reached the statutory limit on the federal debt. If the debt ceiling is not increased by August 2 and the U.S. begins to default on its obligations, financial markets here and around the world would be impacted. In addition, a "broad range of government payments would have to be stopped, limited or delayed, including military salaries, Social Security and Medicare payments, interest on debt, unemployment benefits and tax refunds."  


There are many proposals being discussed in Washington DC to balance the budget. What they have in common is that Medicaid spending would need to be dramatically cut in a short period of time. They include:

  • Block Granting Medicaid: this would give states a fixed amount of money for health care and long term services and would likely remove requirements for how the states spend the money.
  • Spending Caps: these caps would set a limit on federal spending that is well below current spending and would likely result in a Medicaid block grant.
What would these cuts mean for people with disabilities?

Details of the budget discussions are limited at this time, but it is known that cuts to Medicaid are on the table in all of these proposals. These cuts would dramatically reduce essential services.

People with disabilities could be denied:

health insurance coverage

home and community based services

supportive housing

What can you do?

It is expected that Congress will vote on legislation to cut the deficit before the end of July, and it is not known yet what that will mean for Medicaid. Now is the time to tell your Senators and Representatives what Medicaid means to you and how the loss of medical and other services would impact your life. 

Please call your Senators and Representative as soon as possible. Click here to visit the Take Action website or use the information to the left to call and/or email your Federal Senators and Representatives. 

Parent Coalition




The Parent Coalition of The Arc of Whatcom County provides information and education to individuals with developmental disabilities, their caregivers, families and the community by responding to requests for assistance. We provide 1:1 support and serve as a resource to increase understanding of the developmental disability service system and special education system.

For information and assistance, contact Monica, Parent Coalition Co-Coordinator at (360)715-0170, x303,


This E-Alert is made possible by funding from the Whatcom County Division of Developmental Disabilities program.


2602 McLeod Road

Bellingham, WA 98225


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