Senate Gives Nod To Autism Bill
National Journal: Senate Passes Autism Bill
A bill to reauthorize autism-related research and screening programs passed the Senate on Monday night by unanimous consent, ending concerns that programs might expire at the end of the month. Under the legislation, the package is authorized to continue for three years. Money to pay for the programs has yet to be approved, but legislators have asked for $693 million. President Obama has said he will sign the bill. The autism legislation was uncontroversial and had sponsors from both parties in both the House and the Senate, but it hit a few roadblocks. On the House side, it stalled for months before suddenly passing on suspension last week without ever going through committee. In the Senate, it appeared set to pass until Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Jim DeMint, R-S.C., raised objections on the floor last week about the bill, and about the larger issue of whether legislative action is the right way for the country to set research priorities (Sanger-Katz, 9/27).