The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) strongly supports the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CARA) introduced today by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the United States Senate and by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) in the United States House of Representatives.
The new bill reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA), which has played a critical role in advancing autism research and treatment. The original CAA, set to sunset on September 30, 2011, expanded federal investment for autism research through NIH, increased services, diagnosis and treatment through HRSA, and enhanced surveillance and awareness efforts by the CDC. The CAA authorized nearly $1 billion in federal research spending over five years—increasing autism research spending by almost 50 percent. This research has led to improved understanding of the causes of autism and has helped us begin to develop new interventions. Additionally, the research funded through CAA has increased the ability of professionals to more properly screen, diagnose, and treat individuals with autism. The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 ensures that the programs established under the original law continue for an additional three years, including CDC surveillance programs, HRSA intervention and training programs, and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).
The Autism Science Foundation strongly supports this new legislation and urges all members of Congress to act swiftly to pass it into law. We thank Senator Menendez, Senator Enzi, Congressman Doyle and Congressman Smith for their continued focus on the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We look forward to continuing to work with them and the broader autism community to ensure passage of this important legislation. At an IACC meeting earlier this year, the Obama administration pledged to support CARA and to sign the bill into law upon passage.
The Autism Science Foundation is 501(c)3 public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.