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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2016
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR TO HOUSE AND SENATE: INCREASE NIH AND NEI APPROPRIATED FUNDING BY 7.5 PERCENT, REFLECTING FIVE PERCENT REAL GROWTH ABOVE BIOMEDICAL INFLATION

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of the House and Senate, respectively, regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.

After thanking Congress for the $2 billion NIH and $31 million NEI increase in FY2016óthe latter reflecting the first time in four years that NEIís operating budget exceeds that of the pre-sequester FY2012 level (albeit by 0.8 percent), NAEVR requested appropriated NIH funding of $34.5 billion and NEI funding of $770 million, a 7.5 percent increase for each reflecting five percent real growth above biomedical inflation.

NAEVR added its concerns to those that have been expressed by bipartisan Leaders and Members of the Appropriations Committees and the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittees of each the House and Senate regarding the Presidentís proposal to replace $1 billion of the NIH discretionary base funding with mandatory funding. NAEVR is especially concerned that the President proposes to not only flat-fund most of the Institutes and Centers (I/Cs), but achieve this through the use of mandatory funding. In the case of the NEI, its discretionary base would be reduced to $687 million, with the difference reflecting mandatory funding that would raise it to the flat-funded level of $708 million.

While urging the appropriated increase by the appropriators, NAEVR stated that it would work with the authorizers on potential mechanisms to provide short-term ďsurgeĒ funding to take advantage of exceptional scientific opportunities.

NAEVR cited NEIís leadership in identifying more than 500 genes associated with common and rare eye diseases, as well as its Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) which aims to restore vision within the next decade through regeneration of the retina.

NAEVR justified its request by noting the growing public health problem of vision impairment and eye disease, citing prevalence and cost estimates. NAEVR also emphasized that Americans across all major racial/ethnic groups describe losing vision as potentially having the greatest impact on their day-to-day life. This compelling result came from the Alliance for Eye and Vision Researchís (AEVR) September 2014 poll entitled The Publicís Attitudes about the Health and Economic Impact of Vision Loss and Eye Disease, the most rigorous conducted to-date of attitudes about vision and vision loss. AEVR contracted with Research!America to commission the poll from Zogby Analytics, which was sponsored by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness.

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.