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July 21, 2006
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director


(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 and Senate Appropriations Committee for approving a Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 spending bill that would increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding. The Senate bill funds the NIH at $28.5 billion, which is $200 million over the $28.3 billion funding level in the Presidentís budget and the House LHHS bill. The Senate bill funds NEI at $666.9 million, which is $5.4 million over that in the Presidentís budget and the House LHHS bill, and $600,000 over the FY 2006 funding level. Senate and House floor action on respective FY 2007 LHHS funding bills is not expected until later this year.

"The vision research community and the patients it serves especially commend the leadership of Subcommittee Chair Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Ranking Member Tom Harkin (D-IA), who worked on a bipartisan basis to ensure that the Senate bill would not cut FY2007 NEI funding, as proposed in the Presidentís budget and the House LHHS funding bill," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky.

Jorkasky added that the Subcommittee was especially sensitive to the impact of budget cuts on NEIís research into age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the United States. ďIn response to NAEVRís May 19 Subcommittee testimony about missed opportunities in AMD research due to the Presidentís budget proposal, the Senate bill increases NEI funding and directs the Institute to move expeditiously in the development of treatments for those suffering with this condition,Ē said Jorkasky. In 2005, NEI-funded researchers discovered variants of a gene strongly associated with the risk of developing AMD, which has been heralded by NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni as a breakthrough.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVRís goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI) and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVRís Web site at to access NAEVRís Senate testimony