The U.S. House of Representatives passed by a voice vote the newly-named Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (Autism CARES) on June 25.
Under the bill, Congress would provide $1.3 billion for autism-related research and other initiatives over the next five years.
According to a news release from Rep. Chris Smith (R- N.J), one of the bill’s sponsors, the funding would be allocated as follows: $950 million for hundreds of Research Grants at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACCC); $240 million for Autism Education, Early Detection, and Intervention; $110 million for the Developmental Disabilities Surveillance and Research Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bill is a reauthorization of the Combatting Autism Act, passed in 2007. The name of the bill was changed in response to a campaign from disability advocates.
“It was a sign that Congress and many of the autism advocacy organizations that argued in favor of that rhetoric within the legislation lacked any respect for the views of autistic adults,” Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told Disability Scoop. “Autistic people and a growing number of our families do not see ourselves as something to be combated.”
Also on June 24, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved a companion bill. It now advances to the full Senate.