Autism Speaks celebrates advancement of Autism CARES Act of 2024

US House Energy and Commerce Committee moves critical autism research and training bill forward – includes Autism Speaks priority to require a forward-looking budget plan

June 12, 2024
view of members of Congress seated in three rows in US Congressional hearing room

Today, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2024 (H.R. 7213), moving it one significant step closer towards passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. During its consideration of the Autism CARES Act of 2024 today, the Committee added a key priority to the bill that Autism Speaks has strongly advocated for – a requirement that the National Institutes of Health produce a yearly, comprehensive, and forward-looking budget plan for autism research. This important provision will provide the autism community for the first time, and for years going forward, with a transparent plan on the strategic direction of research and resources needed to improve outcomes for autistic people.  

The Autism CARES Act is the single most important driver of autism research, training and data collection programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite the tremendous progress in autism understanding, health care, and evidence-based services and supports that has resulted from these research and training efforts, the autism community has lacked an actionable national plan for the future of federal autism research investments. As research is the backbone to developing and increasing access to new evidence-based care and services, the addition of a Professional Judgment Budget on Autism Research marks a critical step towards a proactive research plan from the federal government to meet the needs of people with autism.

Research resulting from the Autism CARES Act has transformed the landscape of care and services for autistic people and their families over the past two decades...

"...Yet, unfortunately, federal investments in autism have not kept up with the needs of the autism community,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Vice President of Advocacy at Autism Speaks. “The addition of a professional judgment budget offers the opportunity to help close this gap and provide the autism community the transparency and accountability they deserve when it comes to federal plans on autism.”

The inclusion of a professional judgment budget for autism research comes on the heels of other important enhancements to the Autism CARES Act of 2024 that Autism Speaks and colleague organizations advocated for and that were celebrated widely last month by people with autism, their families, and professionals serving the autism community. Autism Speaks is grateful to Chair McMorris Rodgers, Ranking Member Pallone and the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing and enhancing this critical legislation. This would all have not been possible without the leadership of Autism Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Chris Smith and Henry Cuellar, who not only introduced this legislation but worked hard to ensure that vital enhancements were included in the bill. We look forward to working with colleague organizations and members of Congress to ensure that historic impact of the Autism CARES Act continues, and the potential of its new enhancements reach fruition as the bill proceeds through the legislative process this summer.

View Autism Speaks’ Statement of Support for the Energy & Commerce Committee’s markup of the Autism CARES Act of 2024.

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