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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2015
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS CONGRESS FOR INCREASED NIH/NEI FUNDING LEVELS IN THE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement commending Congress for the $2 billion increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, released by Congress today. The omnibus bill, which would finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations, funds the NIH at $32.08 billion, and the $2 billion or 6.6 percent increase over FY2015 funding is the largest since 2003. The bill also funds the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $715.9 million, a 4.6 percent increase over its FY2015 appropriation of $684.2 million and 5.7 percent over its operational net of $676.8 million.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the vision research community, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commends Congress for the $2 billion increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which would finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations. NAEVR is especially pleased that this omnibus spending bill funds the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $715.9 million, which is not only a $31.7 million or 4.6 percent increase over its FY2015 appropriation but also greater than the funding level proposed by the President and by the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of the House and Senate.

Congress has responded in a bipartisan fashion to the research advocacy community’s request for robust funding for the NIH, and to the vision community’s request for a funding increase that enables NEI to address the challenges of the Decade of Vision 2010-2020—specifically the aging of the population, the disproportionate risk/incidence of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations, and the impact on vision from chronic disease, such as diabetes. In six Congressional Briefings on vision issues hosted/co-hosted by NAEVR’s educational foundation, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), and in four Advocacy Days hosted by NAEVR that emphasized the plight of Emerging Vision Scientists, the Alliances maintained a constant and consistent message in 2015 about the need to get NEI funding back on track, especially after the harmful sequester cuts.

We look forward to Congress passing the omnibus bill in the next few days as a first step in rebuilding the NIH and NEI budgets. NAEVR will continue to work with Congress in the FY2017 appropriations process for sustainable and predictable funding that will ensure the health of the U.S. biomedical enterprise as well as the health—and vision health—of all Americans.”

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.