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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS SENATE INCREASE FOR NIH, NEI

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commended the Senate Appropriations Committee for its July 11 approval of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill (S. 1284) that funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $30.95 billion, which is a $307 million or one percent increase, over the pre-sequester FY2013 enacted level of $30.6 billion.

The Senate bill also increases National Eye Institute (NEI) funding to $701.4 million, which is a $100,000 or 0.01 percent increase, over the pre-sequester FY2013 enacted level of $701.3 million. The President’s FY2014 budget had proposed to cut NEI funding by $2.1 million to a level of $699.2 million. NAEVR and the vision community had urged the Senate to improve upon the President’s proposal for NEI, citing a June 18 study released by Prevent Blindness America entitled Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States that estimated these costs at $139 billion—more than double PBA’s prior estimate of $51.4 billion for adult vision disorders and NEI’s prior estimate of $68 billion for all vision disorders.

NAEVR issued the following statement:

“NAEVR wishes to thank 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. NAEVR especially thanks the Senate for being responsive to its request that NEI funding not be cut, as proposed by the President. Although the NEI increase is modest, the larger issue is that the Senate bill would restore the $36 million in NEI funding cut by the sequester in FY2013.

Most importantly, the Senate’s proposed funding increase for NIH/NEI and restoration of the sequester cuts can only be achieved if Congress and the Administration can agree on a balanced deficit reduction plan that replaces the spending caps imposed by sequestration. NAEVR calls on Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to pass the appropriations bills in a timely manner and avoid unnecessary hardships to the NIH, institutions, and scientists in planning and conducting research.”

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.