I am extremely pleased that the Combating Autism Act is finally law. This bill calls for $945 million in federal funding over five years for autism research, treatment, and education. However, while the Combating Autism Act describes the need for federal funding, the bill does not actually provide any money.

President Bush, when signing the Combating Autism Act into law, hailed its passage. Now, it is even more important that the President send Congress a budget request with $945 million dollars specifically earmarked for autism education and research. By working together, Democrats and the President can ensure that autism is prioritized when Congress begins debating the 2008 budget next year.

Once the Combating Autism Act is fully funded, it will be the largest investment Americans have ever made in the battle to understand autism and better help those born with this often devastating disease. With one in every 166 children born in the United States now diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder, there is no time to lose in finding better treatments and an eventual cure.