Autism Speaks Hails House Approval of Bill Renewing Combating Autism Act for Another Three Years

NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 20, 2011) –  Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, hailed today’s voice vote by the U.S. House of Representatives approving the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, and urged the Senate to quickly complete congressional action on the bill and send it to President Obama.

The legislation would renew the 2006 Combating Autism Act, which expires September 30, renewing the federal government’s commitment to fund autism research and treatment for another three years. The bill would sustain federal funding at current levels, authorizing $693 million for research and treatment for autism and related disorders.

“Autism Speaks thanks Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) for their leadership in assuring a strong federal response to autism, which now affects 1 in every 110 children—including 1 in 70 boys,” said Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright. “Autism has been declared a public health emergency—doing nothing is not an option.”

Action on the bill moves to the Senate where the measure cleared the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Sept. 7 by unanimous vote. President Obama has pledged to sign a bill reauthorizing the CAA this year. The CDC has determined that the incidence of autism in America has jumped to 1 in 110 children, and 1 in every 70 boys.

CARA would authorize a total of $693 million on continued biomedical and treatment research on autism and require further development of an overall strategic plan for the intensification, expansion and better coordination of federal efforts designed to help persons with autism and their families. The fight for CARA in the Senate has been led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

The Combating Autism Act of 2006 was signed into law on December 19, 2006 by President George Bush following a nearly unanimous Congressional vote. The CAA made a clear statement by the U.S. government on the public health emergency posed by the growing prevalence of ASDs, and the lack of adequate research, effective treatments, and services to address this urgent and growing crisis.