Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive


Fully fund the Combating Autism Act and Federal Autism Research Initiatives

"President Obama will fully fund the Combating Autism Act, which provides nearly $1 billion in autism-related funding over 5 years, and work with Congress, parents and ASD experts to determine how to further improve federal and state programs."

Sources: "Barack Obama and Joe Biden: Supporting Americans with Autism Spectrum Disorders"

Subjects: Autism, Health Care, States

* * *


Back in 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to "fully fund the Combating Autism Act."

The first signs of progress on this promise occurred in our first update when the Obama administration included $211 million for autism-related funding in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

Next, when the provisions of the initial 2006 Combating Autism Act were about to expire, Congress passed the bipartisan Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, which Obama then signed in September, 2011.

The legislation reauthorized crucial funding for various research, screening, education and treatment programs.

During Fiscal Year 2011, the budget included $237.8 million in funding for various autism activities at the National Institute of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

A Health and Human Services spokesperson also told us that the estimated funding for Fiscal Year 2012 would total $237.6 million.

Finally, the president's Fiscal Year 2013 budget requests $238.2 million under the Combating Autism Act, but this is only a request and has not yet been approved.

Additionally, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act only authorizes funding for three years, not the initial five promised by Obama during the campaign.

At the end of the day, Obama signed the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act and has included funding in each of his budgets so far. But the law authorizes money for three years, not five, and in that time period it's unlikely total funding will equal $1 billion. Still, Obama has provided significant funding to address autism, so we rate this promise Compromise.

* * *


Interview with Scott Badesch, president, The Autism Society, Nov. 14, 2012

Email interview with Tait Sye, spokesperson for U.S. Health and Human Services Dept., Nov. 15, 2012

International Business Times, Autism Law Needs Reauthorization, Dec. 21, 2010

Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 2005, Sept. 19, 2011

Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, Oct. 2011

Robert Menendez, US Senator for New Jersey, Menendez Announces Passage of Autism Bill, Sept. 27, 2011