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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2018
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR SUPPORTS AD HOC GROUP FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT’S FY2019 BUDGET: “PROVIDE MEANINGFUL FUNDING INCREASES ABOVE INFLATION WITHIN THE BASE NIH BUDGET”

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) supported the statement issued by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research—of which it is a member— expressing concern about President Trump’s February 12 Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget proposal that funds NIH below what Congress has proposed for FY2018:

“The return on investment in the NIH pays a lifetime of dividends in better health and quality of life for Americans, young and old. Yet, rather than strengthening the federal commitment to the NIH, the president’s FY2019 budget proposal effectively would freeze funding for the agency at a level that falls below what Congress has proposed for even FY2018.

Stagnant funding postpones hope for patients across the country and narrows the opportunity for breakthroughs in the biomedical research enterprise. In fact, when adjusting for inflation, the NIH already has lost nearly 20 percent of its purchasing power over the last decade. Thankfully, lawmakers in Congress on both sides of the aisle have rallied together to help the agency begin to regain lost ground by boosting the NIH budget in recent years.

We cannot backtrack now. For the United States to enhance its pursuit of cures – and to continue its global leadership in science and technology – the nation must continue the recent trajectory established by Congress and provide steady, meaningful funding increases above inflation within the base NIH budget. The Ad Hoc Group looks forward to working with lawmakers to realize this vision and bring patients one step closer to the assurance of better health in FY 2019 and beyond.”

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky added the following brief statement:

“The President’s FY2019 budget proposes to cut most Institutes and Centers (I/Cs), The National Eye Institute (NEI) proposed $711 million funding level is $20 million below its FY2017 funding level of $731 million (net of transfers and rescissions) and $48 million below that proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee for FY2018. In this year in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Congress creating the NEI, now is not the time for a retrenchment in research to save sight and restore vision, as 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.”
NAEVR’s FY2019 request to Congress for a $2 billion NIH increase to a funding level of at least $38.1 billion includes a request for NEI funding at $800 million.

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.