New Congressional Effort Urges Increased Spending on Autism

Federal Funding for Autism Lags Far Behind Spending for Alzheimer’s and AIDS

In a rare bipartisan request, members of congress are calling for the federal government to raise its investment in autism-related research and services by spending an additional $150 million on the disorder. In a recent letter to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, 90 House members asked for additional funds to be included in appropriations for the next fiscal year, which starts in October. The legislators said their request follows recommendations made by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in their most recent strategic plan (2017). In that plan, IACC suggested that federal spending on autism should double to $685 million by 2020. The committee also noted in their plan that federal funding for autism pales in comparison to spending on Alzheimer’s disease and AIDS. The 2019 renewal of the Autism CARES Act allows just $369 million annually for autism efforts through 2024. This new bipartisan letter requests that the extra $150 million should support autism efforts at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Administration for Community Living and the Department of Labor. The lawmakers also stated that the added investment could be used to expand autism monitoring efforts, provide for new clinical standards to be developed, support individuals who are transitioning to adulthood and pay for research on issues facing individuals with autism across their lifespan.

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