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FY 2005 Appropriations Update

OnDecember, 6, 2004, the House passed the Fiscal 2005 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill as part of a larger, “consolidated appropriations” bill that has been signed by the President. The Senate cleared this legislation on November 20, 2004 but agreed to hold onto the measure until the House adopted a correcting resolution that removed contested language (not related to research funding) from the bill.

The correcting resolution also reduces the across the board cut in all non-defense and non-homeland security spending from 83%, as originally directed in the Appropriations Bill, to 80%.

In 2004, NAAR lobbied for funding increases at both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as for the Committee report language encouraging NIH to expand its autism research portfolio.

The bill provided an appropriation for the entire NIH of $28,051,153,000, which represents a 1.88% increase over Fiscal 2004. Of the three major Institutes responsible for funding autism research, the National Institute of Mental Health's recommended budget for Fiscal 2005 was $1.411 billion, for a 2.21% increase over the previous year; the National Institute on Child Health and Development received $1.27 billion, for a 2.29% increase; and the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke's budget was $1.539 billion, for a 2.57% increase.

The appropriations bill did not provide a specific increase for autism activities at the NIH, but committee reports from both the House and Senate included language commending the NIH autism research matrix and encouraging the “NIH to devote sufficient resources to this research agenda.” Both committee reports also urged the NIH, in implementing the matrix, to “coordinate with autism organizations already funding research initiatives to ensure the most efficient use of its resources.” Both reports noted “the promise of particular areas cited in the matrix, including genetic and behavioral characterizations of the disorder and screening and early diagnosis.”

For the CDC, the Fiscal 2005 Consolidated Appropriations bill provided $1.758 million above the comparable FY 2004 amount “to expand autism surveillance and education activities.” The conference report does not specify how much of the increase should be allocated to surveillance and how much to awareness/education. The FY 2004 comparable amount for all of CDC's autism activities was $16 million, so the FY 2005 total for CDC's autism activities will be $17.758 million less the 80% across-the-board cut imposed on all programs in the bill.