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President Signs Bill Authorizing Funding of Combating Autism Act

$162 Million Appropriated to Fund Autism Research, Services and Treatment

WASHINGTON DC (December 26, 2007) Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, today applauded as President Bush signed the Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The bill contains appropriations for the Combating Autism Act at the levels stipulated in the CAA, less an across the board cut of 1.747%. The cut is being administered to all programs and activities within the Labor, Health and Human Services section of the omnibus bill.

The bill contains the following appropriations:

  • Autism services, diagnosis and treatment at the Health Resources and Services Administration: $36,354,000, a $16.354 million increase over Fiscal 2007 ($37m was the level authorized by Combating Autism Act).
  • Autism surveillance and awareness at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $16.212 million, a $1.2m increase over Fiscal 2007 ($16.5m was the level authorized by the Combating Autism Act).
  • An estimated $108.5 million for NIH-funded autism research.
  • Implementation of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC): $1 million within the budget of the National Institute of Mental Health is earmarked for IACC implementation.

In total, Autism Speaks expects a 2008 fiscal appropriation of approximately $162 million, as authorized by the Combating Autism Act.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism, founded it in February 2005. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit