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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2007
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS HOUSE AND SENATE CONFEREES FOR AN FY2008 LHHS AGREEMENT TO FUND NIH AT $30 BILLION, NEI AT $684 MILLION

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commended the House and Senate conferees to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriation bill who reached an agreement to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $30 billion, a $100 million increase over the recently passed Senate bill (S. 1710) funding level of $29.9 billion, which was greater than the $29.65 funding level in the House bill, H.R. 3043, passed in July. This reflects a 3.8 percent increase over FY2007 and, if enacted, would represent the first time in five years that an NIH increase matched inflation. The agreement would also fund the National Eye Institute NEI) at $684.1 million, an increase of $17 million or 2.5 percent over FY2007. The conference report is expected to be voted on in the House and Senate the week of November 5.

"Both the House and Senate bills reflected a great deal of bipartisan support for increased NIH funding, and that support was made even more evident in the actions of the conferees," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, who added that the NIH lost 14 percent of its purchasing power over the last four funding cycles. "The increase for the NEI is also significant, especially in relation to the growing need for research into age-related eye disease due to the first wave of the 78 million baby boomers now approaching age 65."

Recently, to ensure that legislators are fully aware of the impact of aging eye disease, NAEVR, in partnership with the Alliance for Aging Research, released the first-ever volume of the Alliance’s The Silver Book: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in An Aging Nation dedicated to aging eye disease—The Silver Book: Vision Loss. More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease. The economic impact of adult vision loss is astonishing, with the United States’ costs exceeding $51 billion—a huge share of the $68 billion annual cost of all vision impairment and eye disease, as estimated by the NEI.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a nonprofit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR’s goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR’s Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.