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House Appropriations Committee Approves LHHS Bill

Legislative Update
July 15, 2004

Yesterday, the full House Appropriations Committee conducted markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill. The Committee approved the bill without changes to the NIH and NEI funding levels, which remain at the level in the President's FY2005 budget proposal (i.e., $28.5 billion for the NIH and $671.6 million for the NEI). As in the Subcommittee markup last Wednesday, July 7, Ranking Minority member David Obey (D-WI) offered up an amendment to increase spending by $7.4 billion for various programs (including $500 million in additional funding for the NIH), but this was again defeated along party lines.

Full House consideration of the LHHS bill is anticipated in September, after the summer recess (which begins Friday, July 23).

NAEVR continued to distribute its newly released Age Related Eye Disease Fact Sheet on Capitol Hill as support for its position that the NEI should be funded at $711 million in FY2005, which would complete the doubling of its budget since FY1998 and bring it into parity with the NIH overall and other Institutes.

The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) also announced that it would conduct a Capitol Hill Briefing on September 8 entitled Vision Health Disparities Research, which would focus on the results from the impending Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) , the largest, most comprehensive epidemiological analysis of Latinos conducted in the United States. This study is sponsored by the NEI, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), and Research to Prevent Blindness.