Sens. Carper, Coons Laud Senate Passage of Effort to Combat Autism

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) lauded the unanimous Senate passage of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (S. 1094). The bill, cosponsored by both senators, ensures that the critical programs established under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 continue for an additional three years, including Center for Disease Control (CDC) surveillance programs, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) intervention and training programs, and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The bill was introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in May. Companion legislation, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R.2005) passed the House of Representatives last week. The bill will now be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.

“If we hope to slow down the increasing prevalence of autism in Delaware and throughout the United States, it is important that Congress adequately fund research, treatment, and support for individuals and families affected by this disorder,” said Sen. Carper. “The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act continues the vital programs of the Combating Autism Act of 2006, while also requiring a report to update Congress on the critical progress and developments of autism research. This legislation will help researchers, medical professionals and families make important strides in understanding and coping with this challenging disorder. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the reauthorization of this important piece of legislation.”

“While there have been many breakthroughs in Autism research over the past few years, there is still considerable work to be done to bring an end to this debilitating disorder,” said Sen. Coons. “The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act will ensure that federal funding will continue to provide our families, medical professionals, and scientists with the necessary resources they need to cope with, treat, and ultimately cure this prevalent disorder that’s sadly affecting many families in Delaware and across the country. I was proud to support it, and will continue to support measures that promote innovative research on the disorders and diseases that affect so many American families.”

Sen. Carper also co-sponsored the Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006. This bipartisan legislation expanded federal investments in autism research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as increased services, diagnosis and treatment through HRSA, and surveillance and awareness efforts through the CDC. In total, CAA authorized $945 million over five years, increasing federal spending to address autism by 50 percent. The 2006 bill included a Fiscal Year 2011 sunset provision on all authorizations. As a result, some existing federal efforts through NIH, HRSA, and CDC would cease to exist in the coming Fiscal Year without any action from Congress and the Administration.