Threats to Federal Autism Funding Loom on the Horizon
WASHINGTON, DC (September 12, 2012) -- Congress is preparing to vote on a continuing budget resolution to keep the federal government afloat another six months at current funding levels, but the impact of a fast-approaching January 2, 2013 deadline for reducing the deficit through automatic budget cuts remains unclear.
The current federal budget expires September 30 without agreement on a new full-year budget; as a result Congress must approve a continuing resolution to keep the government running past September 30. The House resolution, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, would continue funding for federal programs, including autism research, at roughly current levels through March 27, 2013.
At stake for the autism community is approximately $230 million in federal research funding that was authorized for FY 2013 under the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA). The current funding level includes $47.7 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), $21.38 million for the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and about $161 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for autism-specific research.
The House is expected to vote on the resolution, House Joint Resolution 117, this week; the Senate vote is expected next week to beat the September 30 deadline.
While the continuing resolution would resolve the September 30 deadline, another looms January 2, 2013 when an estimated 8.4 percent automatic budget cut could be triggered as a result of last year's Deficit Reduction Act. Those cuts would be triggered across all discretionary spending programs unless Congress and the Obama administration can agree on selective cuts.
Autism Speaks will continue to track the progress of the federal budget and its impact on autism research funding.