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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR THANKS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS FOR $10.4 BILLION NIH FUNDING IN ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL AND COMMITS SUPPORT FOR FY2009 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL WITH $1 BILLION NIH INCREASE

(Washington, D.C.) NAEVR has hand delivered letters of appreciation to Congressional leaders for the inclusion of $10.4 billion in National institutes of Health (NIH) funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), which President Obama signed into law on February 17. NAEVR also committed its support for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which Congress will consider in the next week, which would increase NIH funding over FY2008 by $937.5 million to $30.3 billion, or a 3.2 percent increase. This bill would also increase National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $21.4 million to $688.5 million, or a 3.2 percent increase. Government programs (except for defense and homeland security) have been operating on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government through March 6, 2009.

In NAEVR’s letters, Board President Stephen Ryan, M.D. (Doheny Eye Institute) noted NAEVR’s extensive support for the increased NIH funding level in the economic stimulus, which included a letter to then-President Elect Obama and three Capitol Hill events in the January/early February timeframe in which Members of Congress and their staffs were urged to support an increased NIH funding level. Dr. Ryan also provided the following statement about the impact of NIH stimulus funding for vision research:

“NAEVR looks forward to working with the NEI as it implements the various funding mechanisms in the stimulus package that will drive vision research forward at an accelerated pace and improve the economy over the next two years. This infusion of funding is most timely, as the NEI is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2009. Its leadership will be more important than ever in the next decade, especially as we confront a staggering increase in eye disease as a consequence of an aging population.”

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.