After months of delay, the Senate unanimously confirmed Ari Ne’eman on Tuesday to become the first person with autism to serve on the National Council on Disability.
In December President Barack Obama nominated eight new members to the National Council on Disability, which makes recommendations to the president and Congress on disability issues. Early this year, all of the nominations were confirmed except that of Ne’eman, who has autism and is the founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.
The reason: one or more members of the Senate placed an anonymous hold on the nomination, preventing the full Senate from considering it.
Speculation swirled about the reason for the hold, with some suggesting that Ne’eman’s sometimes divisive views on autism could have been behind the delay. In particular, Ne’eman’s belief that autism should not be cured, but instead should be accepted and accommodated has drawn ire from parents of some individuals who are more adversely affected by the disorder.
As secretively as the hold was placed, however, it was lifted Tuesday morning when Senators voted unanimously to confirm the post along with at least 63 other nominations.
“I’m very pleased to have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and I look forward to taking my oath as a member of the National Council on Disability and to get down to work,” Ne’eman told Disability Scoop.
The confirmations come after news earlier this week that Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., secured the votes to change the Senate rules to bar holds from being placed anonymously.