Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) marked World Autism Day today by touring the Rutgers University, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center (DDDC) and speaking out against the across the board budget cuts known as sequestration that slashed critical funding to autism research and programs.
Those with autism and related disorders face a long-term loss of billions of dollars in services and supports as a result of the $85 billion federal spending cut that took effect March 1, 2013. This is the first in a series of annual cuts intended to reduce federal spending by $1.2 trillion by 2021 or until Congress and the President can agree on more targeted cuts.
“The work being done at the DDDC is extraordinary and helping so many families,” said Pallone. “That’s why it is so important that the DDDC has the tools it needs to continue its good work. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress chose to use funding for programs like these for political maneuvering rather than investing in the futures of those with autism when they allowed extreme across the board spending cuts to go into effect last month. Budgets are about more than numbers and dollars – they are real-life expressions of priorities, choices and values. These choices have an impact on the lives of millions of Americans, and that includes the million families that are currently coping with autism.