Autism Speaks commends advancement of the Autism CARES Act of 2019

U.S. House of Representatives holds hearing on bipartisan legislation to fund autism research, services and training benefiting individuals and families affected by autism

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2019) – Autism Speaks applauds the advancement of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act of 2019 (Autism CARES Act of 2019) (H.R. 1058). Autism CARES is the primary source of funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring, and without reauthorization, parts of the Autism CARES Act of 2014 will expire on September 30, 2019. This legislation would continue activities authorized under the Autism CARES Act of 2014.

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee held a hearing on “Reauthorizing Vital Health Programs for American Families” regarding four health-related bills, including the Autism CARES Act of 2019. Autism Speaks commends Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)  and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-Ca.) and Ranking Member Michael Burgess (R-Texas) for calling the hearing. 

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation has received broad support with 128 house members and 25 senators co-sponsoring the legislation. Autism Speaks appreciates Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) for championing this legislation and for their continued leadership to ensure sustained funding to better support people with autism across the spectrum and at every stage of life.   

“This marks a necessary and positive step toward passing Autism CARES,” said Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger. “The increased emphasis this legislation places on reducing health disparities and improving services throughout the life span is critical because many people with autism also have physical and mental health conditions that require ongoing care.” 

Under the authority of the Autism CARES Act of 2014 and predecessor legislation, more than $3.1 billion has been dedicated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This funding supports autism research grants awarded by NIH, prevalence monitoring by the CDC, training of healthcare professionals and efforts to develop treatments for medical conditions often associated with autism.  

Autism CARES authorizes numerous programs across the country that advance the understanding of autism and address the needs of people affected by it. The NIH Autism Centers of Excellence foster collaboration within and among research centers, increasing the power and efficiency of their research. Collaborative programs under the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) help translate research into improved care and tangible resources for families and clinicians. Furthermore, 52 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) programs and 12 Developmental Behavioral Pediatric Training Programs to prepare future leaders and professionals to deliver high-quality care and services.  

The bill also empowers the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to advise on federal autism activities and tasks the federal government with surveying and reporting to Congress on the current landscape of autism services. The 2014 legislation resulted in a report to Congress on young adults with autism and challenges related to transitioning into adulthood. The Autism CARES Act of 2019 would mandate another report to Congress on the health and well-being of individuals with autism.  

Autism Speaks and its legislative advocates call on Congress to support the timely passage of this measure. To learn more about the Autism CARES Act and how to support it, go to https://www.autismspeaks.org/advocacy-news/why-we-care-about-autism-cares

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