Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) today signed on as sponsor of the Kids First Research Act [H.R. 1724], a bipartisan piece of legislation that increases research funding for pediatric diseases and disorders including Autism.
"I've made supporting those living with autism and their families a focus of my time in Washington," said Fitzpatrick. "As a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus- we strive to bring together community based autism support organizations, physicians, and government entities to pursue legislative initiatives that will help facilitate advanced treatments--and ultimately a cure--for autism spectrum disorders."
"What is particularly distressing to those caring for loved ones with autism is the lack of certainty on causes or treatments," said Fitzpatrick, "You want to provide the best for your child, but, many parents are left to question what is best for their autistic child. It can be incredibly unsettling."
"The Kids First Research Act puts a special focus on autism research to help get parents answers and cures," said Fitzpatrick, "Furthermore, the bill places the funding into the National Institute of Health in order to avoid the political uncertainties associated with Congressional funding."
"With the rate of school age children being diagnosed as having autism now at 1 in 50, our society is facing an autism tsunami," said Linda Kuepper, Co-Founder and CEO of the Autism Cares Foundation in Richboro, Bucks County. "We need to develop a strategy for lifelong care for those who are already in need of these services and for the wave of people who are yet to be diagnosed. "
Fitzpatrick also supports the ABLE Act- legislation that levels the playing field for families caring for an autistic child by allowing them to put money away into a tax-exempt account to be used for things like future education, housing, transportation and other unforeseen expenses.
The bill would remove taxpayer funds away from presidential elections and party conventions and instead redirect it toward research efforts at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
"April is Autism Awareness month, but fighting to solve this puzzle, and importantly supporting every individual and family touched by this disorder, remains a year-round priority for me," added Fitzpatrick.