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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

AS CR PASSES, NAEVR URGES CONGRESS TO FINALIZE FY2015 APPROPRIATIONS IN THE LAME DUCK SESSION WHICH ADEQUATELY FUND MEDICAL RESEARCH

(Washington, D.C.) Today, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement regarding House Joint Resolution 124, the Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds most government operations in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 at the FY2014 funding level until December 11, 2014. The House and Senate passed the CR on September 17 and 18 respectively, clearing the measure for the President’s signature. Since the CR includes new funding for Ebola response and research that was not within FY2014 spending levels, it makes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554 percent. This translates to an annualized cut of $378,000 to the National Eye Institute’s (NEI) FY2014 appropriation of $682.4 million, which is about the current $400,000 value of one investigator-initiated grant (R01).

“Although Congress passed a CR that avoids a government shutdown as FY2015 begins, NAEVR urges legislators to make final “regular order” appropriations a priority in the lame duck session and to adequately fund medical research, including vision research.

As Congress was voting on the CR that further reduces medical research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the NEI, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR, NAEVR’s educational foundation) was releasing a new study entitled The Public’s Attitudes about the Health and Economic Impact of Vision Loss and Eye Disease. Americans are united in the view that not only is eye and vision research very important and needs to be a national priority, but many feel that the current federal funding of $2.10 per-person, per-year is not sufficient and should be increased. The public fears vision loss and its impact on their independence and quality of life.

As NAEVR has testified to Congress, as the NEI budget has been decreasing since FY2012 due to a combination of flat funding, sequester cuts, and the lack of inflationary increases, the prevalence of eye disease and vision impairment has been increasing, as has the associated cost, estimated at $145 billion annually in 2014 and projected to grow to $717 billion by year 2050.”
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.