Advocacy Alert- House Subcommittee Advances Combating Autism Reauthorization Act

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On May 28, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 4631 that had been introduced by Representatives Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Michael Doyle, D-Pa. Changes in this latest version include adding a new autism position at the Department of Health and Human Services, increasing the number of non-federal members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and studying the needs of children with autism as they transition to adulthood, as well as the services available to them. During the markup, Rep. Pallone, D-J.J., Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, noted that two issues were outstanding for the full committee to address: determining which agency was responsible for conducting the transition study and renaming the law. The house bill H.R. 4631 largely extends the research, surveillance, public awareness and professional training activities under the Combating Autism Act for an additional five years. Senators Menendez, D-N.J., and Enzi, R-Wyo., are expected to introduce a Senate bill to reauthorize the law in the next couple of weeks.

The Autism Society urges the House and the Senate to work in a bicameral, bipartisan fashion to move this bill quickly and not let this law expire on Sept. 30.