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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2011
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR COMMENDS HOUSE LHHS APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR REHBERG FOR PROPOSED FY2012 NIH FUNDING INCREASE OF
$1 BILLION

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement commending House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Denny Rehberg (R-MT) for proposing a Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding increase of $1 billion, or a 3.3 percent increase over FY2011, to a total of $31.7 billion. The bill would also increase National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $18.3 million, or 2.6 percent over FY2011, to a total of $719.06 million. The House bill draft, released without a markup, proposes the same NIH/NEI funding levels as the President’s proposed budget. The prior week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an LHHS bill that would cut NIH by $190 million and NEI by $7.9 million compared to FY2011.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky commented on the House bill as follows:

“Since NAEVR fully appreciates the challenges Congress faces in finalizing the FY2012 spending bills, we especially wish to commend Chairman Rehberg for proposing to increase NIH funding by $1 billion. NIH-funded research has a proven track record of value and benefit to all Americans, in terms of lives saved, quality of life improved, impact on the national and local economy, and U.S. competitiveness.

The increase would enable the NEI to build upon past breakthroughs in basic and translational research to save sight and restore vision, such as new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, as well as human gene therapy for retinal-degenerative diseases. These advances in diagnostics and treatments cannot come soon enough since, during this decade, the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 years of age and be at greatest risk for developing aging eye disease. In 2009, Congress spoke volumes in passing H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209, which acknowledged NEI’s 40th anniversary and designated 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision. As a result, Congress must adequately fund vision research, which can reduce healthcare costs, maintain productivity, ensure independence, and enhance quality of life.”

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.