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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS SENATE INCREASE FOR NIH AND NEI, CAUTIONS THAT NEI FUNDING HAS NOT BEEN FULLY RESTORED FROM SEQUESTER CUTS

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commended the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee for its approval of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 LHHS spending bill that funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $30.5 billion, which is a $606 million or a 2 percent increase over FY2014, and that restores the NIH budget to the FY2012 pre-sequestration level.

Although the bill funds the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $683.3 million, which is a $10 million or a 1.5 percent increase over its FY2014 operational net of $673.3 million, the legislation is still $19 million short of restoring the NEI budget to its FY2012 level of $702.1 million. In a statement, NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement:

“NAEVR wishes to thank the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) for their leadership and support for biomedical research at NIH, especially in light of the austere discretionary caps for FY2015. We commend them for a bill that fully restores the sequester cuts imposed on the NIH in FY2013. We also commend them for the $10 million increase in the NEI budget, although its funding at $683.3 million is still $19 million below the FY2012 pre-sequester funding level.

As NAEVR stated in its April 17 testimony to the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee’s April 2 hearing file, as NEI’s budget decreases, the incidence of eye disease and vision impairment increases, as does the associated cost, estimated at $139 billion annually and growing in the United States.

We look forward to working with both chambers of Congress to ensure that NEI funding is adequate to address the vision challenges of the future.”

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.