On July 31, the Senate passed the Autism Collaboration Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 (Autism CARES Act), S. 2449. The bill had been previously approved by the House. The bill reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2011 for an additional five years. Among the bill's provisions are the designation of an Autism Spectrum Disorder position within the Department of Health and Human Services which will oversee implementation of the law, increased representation of self-advocates and family members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and reporting requirements relating to the needs of youth with autism transitioning to adulthood. It allocates $1.3 billion in federal funding for autism programs over the next five years.
Senator Robert Menedez (D-NJ), said upon the bill's passage “The Senate’s action today ensures these vital autism programs are reauthorized and continue providing research, services and supports individuals with autism and their families have come to rely on. The Autism CARES Act is a model of bipartisan, bicameral cooperation – and I am proud I was able to work on it and look forward to seeing the President sign this critical legislation into law.”
The bill was presented to President Obama on August 4, and is expected to be signed into law soon.