This Wednesday, July 24th, the House of Representatives passed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (Autism CARES) Act of 2019 by a voice vote. Originally passed in 2014, the act provides governmental funding for autism research, services, training, and monitoring. The bill allocated $1.3 billion for such services from 2015 to 2019.
The Autism Cares Act of 2019 was co-authored by Congressman Chris Smith (R) from New Jersey and chief co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Doyle (D) from Pennsylvania. It has been reintroduced for renewal with a few adjustments.
The new bill would give over $1.8 billion in funding for autism research and services. The Disability Scoop reports that the new bill emphasizes the need of support across all ages. Legislators have added “across the lifespan” to provisions in the bill. This emphasis was born out of the fact that the previous bill was centered on children. The reality is that many individuals with autism cannot receive support once they enter adulthood. The bill aims to change that.
Moreover, the bill requires members from the Department of Labor, Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development to join the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.
It has also been written into the act that the Department of Health and Human Services create a report on the health of individuals with autism.
The most important provisions in the new act rely on support “across the lifespan.” Kim Muscheno told The Disability Scoop, “The new bill acknowledges that people with autism grow up to be adults, many of whom continue to need supports and services.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for review and, hopefully, approval.