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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR THANKS CONGRESS FOR PARTIAL RESORTATION OF SEQUESTER CUTS, URGES ADEQUATE NEI FUNDING TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES OF THE “DECADE OF VISION”

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement upon passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 at $29.93 billion (a $1 billion or 3.5 percent increase over the FY2013 budget after sequester and transfers, but $714 million below the FY2013 pre-sequestration appropriation of $30.64 billion) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $682 million (a $20 million or 3 percent increase over the FY2013 post-sequester/transfer budget, but $19 million below the FY2013 pre-sequestration level of $701.3 million). NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky said:

“We thank Congress-especially Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski and House Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rogers—for leadership in finalizing FY2014 appropriations that partially restore the devastating sequester cuts that were made to key government programs, including medical research, in FY2013 appropriations. Although we realize the enormity of the fiscal challenges that Congress faces and the various competing funding concerns that is has to balance, the FY2014 funding increase does not enable growth or balance biomedical inflation at the NIH and NEI, which have already seen a reduction of more than twenty percent of purchasing power over the past ten years.

The United States faces a major challenge to public health-that from vision loss—especially during this “Decade of Vision 2010-2020” in which the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 and be at greatest risk of age-related eye disease. FY2014 NEI funding of $682 M is still less than half-a-percent of the $139 billion annual cost to the U.S. for eye disorders. The U.S. is a world leader in vision research, but without adequate funding the NEI may not be able to pursue its “audacious goals” to save sight and restore vision. Our nation’s investment in vision health is an investment in overall health that can increase productivity, preserve independence, and improve the quality of life.

The vision community looks forward to working with Congress in the FY2015 appropriations process to ensure that NEI is adequately funded to meet our nation’s vision health challenges.”

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.