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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR REACTS TO H.R. 933 WHICH FINALIZES FY2013 FUNDING

(Washington, D.C.) Today, President Obama signed into law H.R. 933, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, passed by Congress late last week prior to the Easter recess and which finalizes Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding. Although it includes a $71 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding increase, it also imposes the 5.1 percent sequester cut that reduces NIH funding by $1.6 billion from its FY2012 level of $30.6 billion and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $36 million from its FY2012 level of $703 million.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement about H.R. 933:

“NAEVR appreciates the NIH increase in this legislation. However, we remain deeply concerned about the impact of the sequester cuts on vision research funded by the NEI. Although we will not know net NEI funding until the end of FY2013, NAEVR has emphasized to Congress that the cut could mean upwards of 90 new grants not being funded-any one of which holds the promise to save or restore vision. The NEI budget cut is especially alarming since the first wave of the 78 million Baby Boomers has started turning age 65 and is at greatest risk from aging eye disease. NEI estimates that, by 2020, more than 50 million Americans age 40+ will be blind, have low vision, or an age-related eye disease. Congressional resolutions passed in 2009 recognized 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision, so vision research funding must keep pace with the growing public health problem of aging eye disease and vision impairment.”

H.R. 933 also funds the Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) within the Department of Defense (DOD) at the unprecedented level of $10 million, which will net to $9.2 million after the eight percent cut to defense spending.

James Jorkasky also commented on this action, stating:

“NAEVR appreciates that H.R. 933 contained the full House Defense appropriations bill language from July 2012 that funds the VTRP at $10 million for the first time, as the highest past funding level has been $4 million. Since both the House and Senate have approved VTRP funding at $10 million in FY2013, it now serves as the baseline for FY2014 funding.”

NAEVR has requested FY2014 NIH funding at $32 billion and NEI funding at $730 million, as well as VTRP funding at $10 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.