Menendez battles on the floor for autism act

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) clashed with Republicans on the floor of the United States Senate this afternoon, objecting to their attempts to block renewal of the Autism Act.

Calling the act a national health need, Menendez jousted with U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

“I don’t quite understand the opposition,” the New Jersey senator said. “You’re against disease specific legislation; you tell families they’re lobbyists. That’s cruel in my view and there’s no reason for it. I can only hope there’s a change of heart here.”

The GOP suggested a cave-in to lobbyists’ interests in renewing the act.

“When I hear the word ‘lobby’, that creates a perjorative description,” Menendez said. “I have a problem when I hear in this case ‘lobby’ when a universe of parents is trying to get the government’s attention to a disease that afflicts their children. I don’t care for listening to a lot of lobby here. Last time I checked, this is what democracy is all about.”

Menendez said the whole reason the legislation came to be was to coordinate government response to autism.

Menendez battles on the floor for autism act