Finally, Congress Takes on Autism

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives held packed hearings on Capitol Hill about the autism epidemic on November 29, 2012. The Committee grilled federal officials on the government’s inadequate response to autism. Autism spectrum disorders, affecting cognition, communication and relating, now afflict 1 in 88 children. The Committee has not held hearings on this issue in over ten years. Chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Committee pledged to stay involved, to hold the government accountable, and to schedule appropriate additional hearings.

Committee members’ questions to federal autism officials exposed the following problems:

  • Leadership, coordination and a sense of urgency are lacking;
  • The government has no clear priorities for addressing this disaster;
  • Dr. Poul Thorsen, an indicted fugitive felon, co-authored 21 of the 24 studies the government relies on to conclude that there is no link between vaccines and autism;
  • Mercury in vaccines cannot be ruled out as a potential driver of the autism epidemic; and
  • The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program fails to compensate families as Congress intended.

Mark Blaxill of The Coalition for Safe Minds and co-author of The Age of Autism: A Manmade Epidemic reviewed the compelling science supporting a vaccine-autism link.He also warned of the “tsunami of unmet needs” as the first autism generation now reaches adulthood.

Rep. Issa and other members of Congress acknowledged that Congress has not given nearly enough focus to autism. They also noted that autism has no political or party affiliation and this is a pressing bipartisan concern.

EBCALA offers heartfelt thanks and applause to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee for this meaningful new beginning to address the autism crisis.

View hearings.

Please contact the members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to thank them for the hearing and to encourage them to continue to hold the government accountable.