Smith-authored autism bill headed to President

A bill that would reauthorize funding for autism research and education is headed to the President’s desk after the Senate passed the measure late Monday.

The bill, authored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, (R-4), was passed by the House last week.

The bill provides for $693 million through 2014 to fund research into causes and treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities.

“When one takes the time to read the federal Report to Congress recently released, and the Strategic Plans for Autism Research published by the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, the progress made and the sense of urgency for more work to be done to help children and families with autism is undeniable,” said Smith,  “I was confident that our colleagues in the Senate would be persuaded and now families throughout the United States can be confident that the federal effort to combat autism and help them with treatments and early interventions will continue at a robust level.”

In each fiscal year the bill will provide:

  • – $22 million for the Developmental Disabilities Surveillance and Research Program;
  • – $48 million for Autism Education, Early Detection, and Intervention; and
  • – $161 million for hundreds of Research Grants at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. 

Smith’s bill passed unanimously in the House but was held up by Republicans in the Senate. Smith said he spent the last seven days working the phones to overcome that resistance.

Smith-authored autism bill headed to President