Autism Act reauthorized

With President Barack Obama’s signature Friday, the Combatting Autism Act is extended for another three years.

The reauthorization allocates more than $200 million annually during that span for extensive autism research, as well as prevalence tracking, education, early identification and intervention programs, according to an article in Disability Scoop.

When passed in 2006, Congress authorized nearly $1 billion in autism research and training over five years. The act also created the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee  to coordinate all autism-related activities in the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s very exciting that autism research will be able to continue without interruption,” Peter Bell, executive vice president at Autism Speaks, told Disability Scoop. “This is a significant relief within the research community.”

Since being introduced in late May, Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla) had held up the act’s reauthorization over concerns of the bill’s costs. It had been set to expire Friday.

Michael Strautmanis, deputy assistant to President Obama, wrote a post on the White House blog commemorating the passage of the reauthorization. It can be read here.

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