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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR URGES SENATE APPROPRIATORS TO INCREASE FY2010 NIH/NEI FUNDING BY AT LEAST SEVEN PERCENT

(Washington, D.C.) In written testimony submitted today by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) to the hearing record of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, NAEVR urged at least a seven percent increase in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). This number, which reflects a modest three percent increase plus biomedical inflation (FY2009 level of 3.8 percent), would restore purchasing power lost due to flat funding and biomedical inflation over the past six funding cycles. At least a seven percent increase would mean NIH funding at $32.4 billion and NEI funding at $736 million. On April 7, NAEVR submitted similar written testimony to House appropriators.

NAEVRís submission coincides with a May 21, 2009, hearing by the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee at which Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) questioned the adequacy of the Obama Administrationís FY2010 budget request, which proposes to increase NIH funding by $443 million, or 1.4 percent, over FY2009. Chairman Harkin also questioned the Administrationís funding priorities, noting that more than half of the increase—$268 million—would go to cancer research.

In a May 7 press release, NAEVR expressed concern about the Administrationís FY2010 budget request, especially the proposed one percent increase in NEI funding. NAEVR noted that, in the year that begins a decade in which more than half of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 years of age and be at greatest risk for developing aging eye disease, it is not the time for a minimal increase in our nationís commitment to vision health.

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.