Washington, D.C) (September 25, 2008) The Fiscal Year 2009 Defense Appropriations bill was passed by the full House by a vote of 370-58 and ncludes $8 million for the Department of Defense Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Program (DoDARP). In last years FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, Congress included $6.4 million for this program to further the field of autism research and help improve treatments and interventions for children with autism.
You may be wondering why on earth funding for autism research is included in the budget for the Department of Defense at all! The Defense Department's autism research program is funded in the U.S. Army Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation Medical Advanced Technology account. It is administered as a Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), similar to current programs for breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers.
While this is great step forward, there is still much work to be done to get this bill enacted. As it stands, in addition to this funding for autism research, the FY 2009 DoD Appropriations bill also includes some contentious items, such as funding for military construction projects, homeland security, disaster relief, and even a bailout for the auto industry. The entire package will need to be approved by the full Senate and be signed by the president.
To read more about this bill, please visit the Department of Defense Appropriations page.