House Approves Bill to Reauthorize Landmark Autism Law

July 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced today that bipartisan legislation to reauthorize federal programs and activities that help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bill, the Autism CARES Act of 2019 (H.R. 1058), is supported by a broad coalition of autism and disability advocate organizations, including Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. A companion bill (S. 427) was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

“Congressman Smith and I introduced the bill before us today to reauthorize these important programs for another 5 years,” Congressman Doyle said. “Reauthorization of the Autism CARES Act means a great deal to millions of Americans affected by autism spectrum disorder.”

“These programs have done a great deal to improve the lives of individuals with autism, but there is still much more that needs to be done,” Congressman Doyle added. “This bill would help address some of the gaps that remain in our understanding of ASD, as well as develop interventions and more support for individuals with autism, their families, and autism care professionals.”

The Autism CARES Act of 2019 would reauthorize the Autism CARES Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-157). It would authorize over $1 billion in funding for programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over five years. At CDC, the funding would go to developmental disability surveillance and research; at HRSA, the funding would cover education, early detection and intervention; at NIH, the funding would cover the expansion and coordination of autism-related activities.

Among other actions, the legislation:

• Requires HHS to report to Congress on the progress of activities related to autism and other developmental disabilities, and the health and well-being of individuals on the autism spectrum. 

• Directs NIH to conduct research targeted at improving outcomes and detection for persons with autism of all ages. 

• Directs HRSA to prioritize grants for developmental-behavioral pediatricians in medically-underserved areas. 

• Amends sections of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to reflect the need for research, surveillance, education, detection, and intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder of all ages, not just children. 

Click here to see Congressman Doyle’s statement today in support of the Autism CARES Act.