The Obama administration is committed to reauthorizing key autism legislation before it expires late this year, the nation’s top health official said Monday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told about 100 autism advocates at a White House autism awareness month conference Monday morning that reauthorizing the Combatting Autism Act is a priority.

“Unfortunately, as many of you know, the Combatting Autism Act is set to expire this year but we have much more work to do,” Sebelius said. “That’s why the president and I are fully committed to reauthorizing the Combatting Autism Act this year.”

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The legislation, first passed in 2006, tremendously expanded federal funding for autism, allocating millions of dollars to improve diagnosis, treatment and research of autism spectrum disorders.

Late last year, two senators introduced a bill to reauthorize the Combatting Autism Act, but no action was taken. Since then, Congress has been silent on the issue.

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