Yesterday, Congress finally passed legislation to combat the growing problem of autism.  Like the companion bill I introduced with Representative Mary Bono (R-CA), this bill will provide an increased focus on this devastating disease.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges.  The Combating Autism Act gives efforts to combat this disease a much needed shot in the arm and places the federal government in a leadership role in diagnostics, causes and cures for autism.  The Act authorizes nearly $1 billion dollars, a fifty percent increase, over the next five years to combat autism through research, screening, early detection and early intervention.

The Combating Autism Act is a ray of hope to the thousands of families struggling every day with autism and I am proud of the role I played in ensuring its passage.  I look forward to seeing the results of this increase in resources to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.