March 22, 2018
Today is an important day for the autism community as Congress passes its annual appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018.
First, the package includes what has been called an unprecedented increase to the National Institutes of Health budget. This increase would allow more funding to be spent on needed research for autism and many other disorders. We join with many today in commending the leadership of the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Health and Human Services: Chairmen Tom Cole (R-OK) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Ranking Members Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Patty Murray (D-WA).
Importantly, the accompanying report encourages the NIH to follow the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s latest strategic plan for autism research. This plan recommends doubling the autism research budget by 2020. The increased funds and the guidance from Congress are pivotal steps in this direction.
The omnibus legislation also includes what we expect will be final passage of Kevin and Avonte’s law. Kevin and Avonte’s law will help safeguard children with autism or other developmental disabilities who may wander from their caregivers. This legislation has been before Congress for several years and we are grateful for the tireless efforts of Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).
As of March 23, 2018, the President signed the omnibus appropriations bill into law.