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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2017
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR SUPPORTS AD HOC GROUP FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT’S FY2018 BUDGET BLUEPRINT: KEEPING “AMERICA FIRST” REQUIRES NIH INVESTMENT

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) supported the statement issued by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research—of which it is a member— expressing concern about President Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) Budget Blueprint that proposes to reduce National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by $5.8 billion:

“The Administration’s proposal to gut funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.8 billion or nearly 20 percent below current levels would drastically slow progress on research to find treatments and cures for patients nationwide. Cuts to NIH of such unprecedented magnitude would affect every American, including patients, their families, researchers, and communities where NIH investment spurs economic growth.

As the President eloquently noted in his Joint Address to Congress last month, millions of Americans in every community await new or improved treatments and diagnostics for a wide range of diseases. Medical research supported by the NIH plays an irreplaceable role in achieving their hopes of a healthier future. For this reason, the investment in NIH has long been prioritized by leaders of both parties as a key responsibility for the federal government.

By supporting research at universities, medical schools, teaching hospitals, and other institutions across the country, NIH also has fueled local and regional economies by creating jobs and catalyzing new industries. For decades, the federal commitment to scientific discovery has strengthened our country’s competitiveness in a global market that is actively working to unseat the U.S. as the world’s leader in medical research. To keep “America First,” we must bolster, rather than undermine, the nation’s medical research capacity.

The Ad Hoc Group urges Congress to reject the inexplicable and impractical proposed cuts to NIH and to continue its tradition of investment in medical science. We look forward to working with lawmakers to finalize an FY2017 spending package with $34.1 billion for NIH – as approved nearly unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June 2016. We also urge Congress to continue this budget trajectory with a $2 billion increase over FY2017 for NIH in FY2018, in addition to funds included in the 21st Century Cures Act for targeted initiatives. Delivering the promise of good health to patients nationwide will require a commitment to nondefense discretionary spending like NIH-supported medical research.”

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky added the following brief statement:

“Reduced NIH funding means reduced NEI funding. Now is not the time for a retrenchment in research to save sight and restore vision, as the United States faces a major challenge to public health-that from vision loss-especially during this ‘Decade of Vision 2010-2020’ in which the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 and be at greatest risk of age-related eye disease.”
NAEVR’s FY2018 request to Congress for an NIH increase of $2 billion includes a request for NEI funding at $800 million.

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.