Since 2009, autism rates have risen to an alarming 1 in 110 of all infants born in the United States. Although we have made great strides in the treatment and diagnosis of autism, National Autism Awareness Month is an important occasion during which we can both reflect on this success and remind ourselves that we must continue to support autism research. I believe this must be a priority so that we can make life easier for those who suffer from autism and for the family members who provide care for their loved ones.
I have always been a supporter of increased research funding to help establish viable treatment options and cures for a range of diseases, including autism. That is why I have consistently supported funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH), the government agency that performs this important research. In fiscal year 2012, NIH received $30.7 billion dollars in funding. This represents a $299 million dollar increase over the previous year's funding, and will help fund important autism research.
In addition, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act, extending coverage until 2014. I was proud to support this legislation when it came before the House of Representatives. This legislation authorized $22 million per year for the surveillance and research program, $48 million per year for the education, early detection, and intervention program, and $161 million per year for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.
Finally, I joined as a co-sponsor of the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (H.R. 2288). This important legislation would extend the military's TRICARE program to autism and would greatly benefit our brave men and women in the military who on top of their commitment to our nation's defense, provide care for their autistic children.
There is still a great deal left to be done to combat autism. I will continue to support research funding for autism and am hopeful that you will join me in celebrating National Autism Awareness Month by working to increase the awareness of autism in your community.