COMBATING AUTISM ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - December 06, 2006)
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Mrs. BONO. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me the time to speak on this most important piece of legislation. I would also like to commend the members of our leadership and thank them for allowing a vote on this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Combating Autism Act of 2006. This historic and monumental piece of legislation is a critical first step towards addressing the unknown causes of autism by providing record levels of research funding and support for other services.
Today, one in 166 individuals is diagnosed with autism. This alarming statistic proves that autism does not discriminate based on race or gender.
As a longstanding supporter of the autism community, I have had the opportunity to speak with many national organizations, individuals and families who have been personally impacted by this disease. The selfless service that is provided by parents, siblings, extended family and other caregivers is unwavering and is unending.
While we have made significant strides since the identification of the disease in 1943, the task that lies before us requires the support of all involved parties and I am proud to have witnessed the cooperation of many groups that span the autism community. They banded together in an unprecedented manner, and their collective voice resonated with the Congress.
On May 18, 2005, it was my privilege to introduce the House version of this legislation. More than 240 of my colleagues joined Representative DeGette and myself in support of autism research. Today, I hope that they will join me in voicing their support of the Combating Autism Act of 2006.
I would like to commend Chairman Joe Barton, who has been a steadfast supporter of the autism community, and Senators Rick Santorum and Christopher Dodd for their commitment and action to support the autism community.
I would like to give special acknowledgement to former Congressman Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania, who throughout the process has remained a tireless champion of this cause.
I would also like to thank the hardworking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee staff, Randy Pate and Ryan Long; of the Senate HELP Committee, Shana Christrup and Erin Bishop; Jennifer Vesey of Senator Santorum's office; Jim Fenton of Senator Dodd's staff; and Jed Perry of Congresswoman DeGette's office for their commitment on this piece of legislation.
Finally, I would like to thank my personal staff, both past and present, Katherine Martin and Taryn Nader, for their hard work and tireless efforts on the Combating Autism Act of 2006.
As the 109th Congress comes to a close, we have an opportunity to pass this meaningful and life-changing piece of legislation. I will proudly cast my vote in support, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
Again, I thank the chairman.
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