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President Bush Delivers FY2005 Budget Proposal to Congress: Increase for NEI Falls Short of NAEVR's $711 Million Goal

Legislative Update
February 5, 2004

On Monday, February 2, President Bush presented to Congress the Administration's Fiscal Year 2005 (FY2005) proposed budget. The $2.4 trillion spending plan calls for $818 billion in discretionary spending, $386 billion of which is for non-defense, non-homeland security spending (which represents an increase of .5%).

The FY2005 budget proposes an increase of $729 million or 2.6% over FY2004 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to $28.6 billion. This includes $80 million to be appropriated through the VA-HUD Committee, but does not include another $200 million appropriated through the Public Health Service and by Public Law 107-360 for Type 1 diabetes research. With these added, NIH's budget would increase to $28.8 billion or 2.7% over FY2004. The NIH budget includes FY2005 expenditures for implementation of the NIH Roadmap at $237 million, an increase of $109 million over FY2004.

The FY2005 budget proposes an increase of $19 million or 2.9% over FY2004 for the National Eye Institute (NEI) to $672 million. The budget proposes increases for most NIH Institutes in the 2.8-3.1% range.

The 2.9% increase for the NEI falls short of the 8% increase-or $58 million-necessary to increase the NEI budget in FY2005 to $711 million from the final FY2004 programmatic level of $653 million ($652.7 million appropriated, which was reduced by a .59% across-the-board cut on non-defense spending and program transfers).

NAEVR, on behalf of the eye and vision research community, has been steadfast in advocating for $711 million for the NEI in FY2005, which would reflect a doubling of the NEI budget since FY1998 and bring it into parity with the budget-doubling that occurred at the NIH and many Institutes between FY1998 and FY2003. With its FY2004 programmatic budget of $653 million, the NEI is still only at 1.84 times its FY1998 budget of $355 million, or 91.9% of its budget-doubling goal of $711 million.

Click here to access NAEVR's position paper.

In addition to advocating for an NEI increase, NAEVR is joining with other organizations to call for an increase in FY2005 funding for medical research. The ad hoc Medical Research Funding Group is advocating for a 10% increase in the NIH budget, while Research! America has called for an 8-10% increase in medical research funding.