Congress Urged To Enhance Spending On Autism

A non-partisan group of federal lawmakers is pushing for additional state funding for autism initiatives next year. (Thinkstock)

Dozens of Congressmen are calling on the federal government to significantly increase its investment in autism-related activities by spending an additional $ 150 million on the developmental disorder.

The bipartisan request was recently made in a letter to the heads of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Allied Agencies. The 90 members who signed the correspondence hope the additional funding will be included in funding for a handful of federal agencies for the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

Lawmakers said the additional spending would help meet the recommendations of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a panel of government officials and autism advocacy groups that advise the Secretary for Health and Human Services and coordinate federal activities related to developmental disabilities should.

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In its most recent strategic plan from 2017, the committee said federal spending on autism should double by 2020 to reach $ 685 million. At that time, the panel found that federal funding for autism pales in comparison to spending on Alzheimer’s and AIDS.

Nonetheless, a 2019 renewal of the Autism CARES Act, which provides funding for research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training, and other government activities related to autism, included only $ 369 million a year for autism efforts through 2024.

The letter now states that additional money will be used for autism efforts at the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Administration for Health Resources and Services, Administration for Community Living, and the Department of Labor should. The additional investment could be used, among other things, to expand autism surveillance efforts, develop new clinical standards, support transition into adulthood, and pay for research into issues that people on the spectrum face across their lifespan are, according to the legislator.

“We appreciate the spending constraints faced by the committee and our nation and the difficult decisions involved in preparing annual financial statements,” wrote Representatives Mike Doyle, D-Pa., And Christopher Smith, RN.J. ., and their colleagues. “However, there is tremendous opportunity to grow existing programs, fill gaps in research and services, and follow the broad recommendations of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.”

Autism Speaks said the letter generated support from a record number of members of the House.

“This show of support shows the momentum that has been built among members of Congress to greatly enhance federal commitment to addressing the challenges facing the autism community,” said Stuart Spielman, senior vice president of advocacy for the Group.

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