***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Fights for Autism Community in Face of Trump Administration Attacks

***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Fights for Autism Community in Face of Trump Administration Attacks

Senator wrote landmark Autism CARES Act – Trump eliminates all funding, defying the law

   

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, the leading advocate in Congress for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families, and author of the landmark Autism CARES Act, today lambasted President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for zeroing out funding to implement the law and for putting massive tax cuts for corporations and the richest Americans ahead of the autism community.

Sen. Fin. Comm.

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“In New Jersey, 1 in 41 children are diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder, much higher than the national average of 1 in 68,” Sen. Menendez stated to the Secretary during questioning in the Finance Committee regarding Trump’s budget proposal for HHS. “Is it true that the fiscal year ’19 budget zeroes out a program that is of great interest to those in the autism community – the Autism CARES Act…?”

As Azar stammered and stalled, Menendez interrupted, saying:  “Let me help you out…it’s zero.” 

Incredibly, Azar then excused the Administration’s decision to prioritize tax cuts over autism programs, telling the Senator, “there’s not limitless money” to implement the law.

“I know,” Sen. Menendez chastised.  “That’s why we shouldn’t have spent 1.5 trillion dollars on tax cuts for the wealthiest people in this country; maybe we wouldn’t be having this debate then.” 

Sen. Menendez is the leading advocate in Congress for individuals with autism and their families, having authored the Autism Coordination, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act, also known as the Autism CARES Act, which was signed into law on August 8, 2014.  Additionally, he secured the passage of the 2011 reauthorization of the legislation formerly known as the Combating Autism Act, and also authored the Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation (AGE-IN) Act to address the needs of youth and young adults as they transition out of school-based support to independent adulthood; key provisions of the AGE-IN Act were included in the final Autism CARES Act

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