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Latest Congressional Budget Fight Jeopardizes 2012 Autism Research Funding

April 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC –  (April 27, 2012) -- As warned earlier this year by Autism Speaks, vital federal funding to continue autism research is now needlessly in jeopardy as a result of getting caught up in a Congressional budget squabble over unrelated issues. 
At risk is a proposed $21.3 million appropriation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue tracking autism prevalence. The funding for years had been allocated directly to CDC’s discretionary budget, but this year was inexplicably incorporated in the politically sensitive Prevention and Public Health Fund under the Obama Administration’s budget proposal.
The autism research funding is now at risk because of a political fight over the Public Health Fund that has nothing to do with autism research. 
"“Our warnings were accurate and our solution is simple,"” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks’ executive vice president for programs and services. "“Get autism research funding out of the Public Health Fund and back in the CDC'’s discretionary budget where it belongs. Autism funding in 2013 is in danger of becoming collateral damage in a wider political war.”"
The annual appropriations have enabled CDC to track the rise of autism prevalence in the United States, resulting in studies such as its announcement in late March that autism now affects 1 in 88 children, including 1 in 54 boys. Without the appropriation, CDC would be unable to fund the research.
The appropriation was authorized to continue for another three years by virtue of the enactment of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) last year.