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Congress Passes Full-Year FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution

Legislative Update
February 14, 2007

Late today, just before the current Fiscal Year (FY) Continuing Resolution was set to expire, the Senate passed the FY 2007 Joint Funding Resolution by a vote of 81-15, with 15 Republicans (mostly conservative) voting against the measure, which had been passed by the House on January 31. This vote came after a successful cloture vote to cut off further debate and consideration of amendments that could have potentially moved dollars out of the JR for defense purposes, thereby reducing funding of many domestic programs. The latter will be taken up in a separate FY2007 defense supplemental to be considered shortly by Congress.

The bottom line for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) is as reported in a January 31 update—for NIH overall, funding of $28.92 billion, reflecting a $620 million increase (2.2 percent) over FY2006, and for the NEI, funding at $667 million, or an approximate $8.5 million increase in program dollars, which primarily represents the contribution the NEI would have had to make to the NIH Roadmap/Common Fund which now receives a direct appropriation in the JR, per the recently passed NIH Reform Act of 2006. Overall, NEI will have an approximate $13.8 million in programmatic dollars above what the initial FY2007 Presidentís budget proposed.

The entire medical research community has both the Senate and House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee leaders—Chair Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Chair Cong. David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Cong. James Walsh (R-NY), respectively—to thank for championing the NIH increase. NAEVR is communicating its appreciation in letters to these leaders.

NAEVR will be working closely with the NEI to determine how the vision community may access funding through the newly established common fund for trans-Institute NIH research and the pool of funds for new investigators. NAEVR will also work closely with the larger medical research community to support FY 2008 funding for the NIH at $30.8 billion, a $1.9 billion or 6.7 percent increase over the FY2007 JR funding level, and $711 million for the NEI. These requests of Congressional appropriators far exceed the FY2008 NIH/NEI funding requested in the just-released FY2008 Presidentís budget of $28.7 billion for the NIH and $668 million for the NEI.