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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2012
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR URGES CONGRESS TO AVERT SEQUESTRATION, PROTECT CORE GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS SUCH AS SUPPORT OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) joined nearly 3,000 other organizations from the nondefense discretionary (NDD) community as signatories on a letter delivered to Congress urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.”

The nearly 3,000 organizations include national, state, and local organizations from all fifty states which represent health, medical research, education, and public safety communities and are concerned about the potentially devastating impact of sequestration. Despite diverse interests, these organizations share a common purpose of protecting the core government functions that comprise NDD spending from further cuts.

NDD programs benefit all Americans, supporting the health, safety, and security of citizens, as well as contributing to economic growth. In 2011, NDD spending represented less than one-fifth of the federal budget and 4.3 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP). Under strict discretionary caps in the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA), by 2021 NDD spending will decline to just 2.8 percent of GDP, the lowest level in at least 50 years. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, cuts to NDD programs will be even deeper.

Sequestration will be especially devastating to the Unites States’ biomedical research enterprise. In testimony before several hearings of Congress over the past few months, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. has stated that NIH could potentially eliminate 2,300 new and competing research projects due to reduced funding and, since NIH has significant out-year commitments, the greatest impact would be on new grants.

“NDD programs are not the reason for the nation’s growing debt, yet they are usually the first place that lawmakers look for cuts,” said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. “NAEVR’s goal in supporting the NDD Coalition is to protect biomedical research from further cuts by educating policymakers about the value of NDD programs. We hope that Congress will avoid sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction.”

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.