WASHINGTON (WCMH) — President Donald J. Trump signed into law a bill authorizing $1.8 billion in funding to help children and adults with autism.
The Autism CARES Act authorizes $1.8 billion in funding over five years to fund research, early detection, and treatment.
“We support research for Americans with Autism and their families,” said President Donald Trump in a tweet. “You are not forgotten, we are fighting for you!”
Specifically the bill:
- Authorizes $1.8 billion—including annual funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $296 million, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at $23.1 million, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at $50 million.
- Reauthorizes and expands the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC);
- Adds new members of IACC from the Departments of Labor, Justice, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development;
- Increases from two to three IACC members who are self-advocates, parents or legal guardians and advocacy/service organizations;
- Empowers the Health and Human Services Secretary to prioritize grants to “rural and underserved areas” and;
- Requires that not later than two years after enactment, a comprehensive report on the demographic factors associated with the health and well-being of individuals with ASD, recommendations on establishing best practices to ensure interdisciplinary coordination, improvements for health outcomes, community based behavioral support and interventions, nutrition and recreational and social activities, personal safety and more
The bill was sponsored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith and Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle.
Smith said that Autism CARES expands government programs to include older persons with autism “who were—and are—often misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed and overlooked.”