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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS CHAIRMAN OBEY FOR NIH FUNDING MARKUP THAT IMPROVES ON THE PRESIDENT’S FY2010 PROPOSAL, BEGINS PROCESS TO REBUILD NIH BUDGET

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commended House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-WI), who also serves as the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, for providing a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding level that improves on President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 proposed NIH budget. At its markup session held earlier today, the Subcommittee approved $30.966 billion for NIH, which reflects a $941.8 million increase over FY2009 (approximate three percent increase), and a $500 million increase over the President’s request. Full Appropriations Committee markup is tentatively scheduled for July 17.

In his prepared statement, Chairman Obey said that the Subcommittee “rejected the Administration’s targeted funding approach and ensured that all Institutes and Centers (ICs) receive funding to offset biomedical research inflation.” Chairman Obey was referring to the Administration’s proposal to significantly increase funding for cancer and autism in its FY2010 budget proposal, which would have been offset by minimal increases for other ICs, including the National Eye Institute (NEI). NAEVR had expressed concern about the one percent increase for NEI in the President’s budget, noting that this was not the time for a minimal increase on our nation’s commitment to vision health, especially with the first wave of Baby Boomers turning 65 years old and at greatest risk for developing aging eye disease.

“The House has made an initial step to stem inflationary losses at the NIH with its bill. We look forward to working with the Senate, and in any subsequent conference, to not only stem inflationary losses but to re-build the NIH base,” said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. NAEVR has requested an FY2010 NIH funding of at least seven percent over FY2009.

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.