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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2008
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT PRESIDENTíS FY2009 BUDGET PROPOSAL AND ANNOUNCES FUNDING REQUEST OF $31 BILLION FOR NIH, $711 MILLION FOR THE NEI

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) stated its concerns about the funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) contained in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 budget proposed by President Bush. The budget funds NIH at a programmatic level of $29.2 billion, the same as the FY2008 level. The budget would increase NEI funding by $650,000 to $667.8 million, or a 0.1 percent increase over the FY2008 funding level of $667.1 million. In the FY2008 process, the NIH budget increased by 0.46 percent over FY2007, and the NEI was flat-funded.

"NAEVR is disappointed in the Presidentís proposed FY2009 funding level for the NIH overall, and for the NEI, specifically, as the lack of any inflationary increase continues to reduce purchasing power and threatens the ability to follow up on previous breakthroughs resulting from past investment," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. "The resulting loss of 18 percent of its purchasing power over the past five funding cycles jeopardizes the NEIís mission to ensure the vision health of all Americans, especially with the growth of the population susceptible to aging eye disease."

NAEVR supports an FY2009 funding increase for the NIH/NEI of 6.6 percent, which represents the current biomedical inflation rate of 3.6 percent plus a 3 percent increase to begin restoring the NIH/NEI purchasing power. The 6.6 percent increase would result in NIH funding of $31 billion and NEI funding of $711 million.

"Even prior to todayís release of the Presidentís budget proposal, NAEVR has been on Capitol Hill requesting the 6.6 percent increase in the FY2009 budget and appropriations cycle," said Jorkasky, who noted that, on January 25, a group of 20 vision researchers made 50 Congressional visits with that request.

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