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Members of Congress Send Letter to Appropriations Leadership Requesting $10 Million for FY2014 VTRP Funding

Legislative Update
June 3, 2013

As the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee prepares to hold a markup this week on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations bill for the Department of Defense (DOD), four Democratic members of the Subcommittee have requested that the Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) be funded at $10 million. The four members-Congs. Jim Moran (D-VA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Bill Owens (D-NY)-urged Subcommittee Chair Cong. Bill Young (R-FL) and Ranking Democrat Cong. Peter Visclosky (D-IN) to support this funding level, using several talking points from NAEVR’s FY2014 VTRP funding position paper that requested $10 million in funding. Although this April 14 letter is from Democratic Members, the VTRP has garnered bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

VTRP funding is not part of the ‘core’ DOD funding requested by the President and must be added each year by Congressional appropriators. Congressman Moran has served as the program’s champion since he first requested dedicated funding for the program in FY2009 Defense appropriations.

In FY2013, the program was initially funded by the Subcommittee at a level of $5 million, but was increased to $10 million during debate by the full House of Representatives through an amendment offered by Cong. Tim Walz (D-MN), who is the highest ranking enlisted man ever to serve in Congress.

On March 21, 2013, when Congress passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, H.R. 933 [signed by the President on March 26 into law as P.L. 113-6] which finalized spending through the end of FY2013, it funded most government programs at the FY2012 level minus the 5.1 percent sequester cut. Since H.R. 933 contained the FY2013 Defense bill language passed in July 2012 that increased VTRP funding from $5 million to $10 million, the program will receive that amount, minus the 8 percent sequestration cut to defense programs, netting $9.2 million.