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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR ON PRESIDENT OBAMAíS PROPOSED FY2014 BUDGET: APPLAUDS NIH BUDGET INCREASE, DISAPPOINTED IN NO GROWTH IN THE NEI BUDGET

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement about the Obama Administrationís proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budgetís funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). The proposal would restore the 5.1 percent cut imposed on the agency in FY2013 by sequestration and increase the budget by $471 million, or 1.5 percent, over the FY2012 level of $30.6 billion (net of transfers). Although also restoring the $36 million NEI sequester cut in FY2013, the President proposes a net $2 million, or 0.3 percent cut, from NEIís FY2012 funding level of $701.3 million (net of transfers). The cut is primarily driven by an $8.9 million reduction due to conclusion of the NEI-sponsored Ocular Complications of AIDS (SOCA) studies, funded by the NIH Office of AIDS Research.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky commented as follows:

ďNAEVR applauds the Presidentís continued support for biomedical research through an FY2014 budget proposal that restores sequester cuts and grows the NIH budget. However, the proposal does not grow the NEI budget at such a pivotal time for eye and vision research, especially after the devastating impact of the sequester cut in FY2013. 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. This will have a direct impact on healthcare costs, productivity, independence, and quality of life.

Additionally, through its Audacious Goals Initiative, the NEI has identified new and compelling scientific ideas to advance research to save and restore vision that could be jeopardized due to inadequate funding. This is especially frustrating for the vision community, as NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. has acknowledged publically the NEIís long tradition of leadership in the biomedical research arena. That leadership, and the concomitant promise it holds for the sight of all Americans, is at risk.Ē

NAEVR has requested FY2014 NIH funding at $32 billion and NEI funding at $730 million. On March 13, NAEVR made this request at a Public Witness hearing of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee.

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.