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As NIH Appropriations Hearings Begin, Major Press on Eye Disease Issues

Legislative Update
March 11, 2007

The March 5, 2007, edition of US News & World Report posts a cover story consisting of a number of vision-related stories under the banner of "The Eyes Have It," featuring examples of NIH/NEI research and quoting various members of the vision community.

NAEVR has submitted a Letter to the Editor commending this coverage and further characterizing the extent/cost of vision impairment and eye disease – and the need for increased federal funding. NAEVR has also shared these materials with NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni and key Congressional offices. NAEVR had just shared with these offices the summary of AEVR’s February 20 Congressional Briefing Genes, Lifestyle and Vision Health as a prime example of NEI’s trans-Institute research.

The timing is propitious, since Dr. Zerhouni will appear Tuesday, March 6, before a House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the NIH. The Subcommittee will follow with Public Witness hearings on March 21-23 (NAEVR has submitted a request to testify). Earlier today, NAEVR met with Subcommittee Ranking Member Cong. Jim Walsh (R-NY) and reiterated its message about the importance of increased AND timely FY2008 NIH/NEI appropriations.

On the Senate side, Dr. Zerhouni will testify on March 19. Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to reinstate the process in which this hearing will be followed by several others that will include all Institute and Center Directors – each likely to speak about how their Institute/Center’s research is making a difference in the health of Americans. NAEVR President Dr. Stephen Ryan will be meeting with Sen. Harkin late next week.

NAEVR will attend these hearings and report on Dr. Zerhouni’s testimony and responses to Subcommittee questions. NAEVR will also file a statement/testimony and suggested Report Language in the House and Senate. As released, all of these materials will be posted on the Web site.