Congress Passes FY24 Appropriations Bills with Level Funding for NEI and DOD VRP

Last week, Congress passed, and the President signed the final appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) funding, providing level funding for critical vision research programs, including the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the Department of Defense's (DOD) Vision Research Program (VRP) within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).

Commenting on the FY24 appropriations, Dan Ignaszewski, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), expressed appreciation for the continued support for vision research but emphasized the challenges posed by level funding. "While we are grateful for the sustained funding commitment from Congress, it's important to recognize that level funding, in the face of rising costs, effectively represents a cut in resources for vital vision research programs," stated Ignaszewski.

Of the institutes at NIH, 19 received level funding, five along with the Office of the Director received decreases, and three received small increases (see below).

Institutes that saw decreases:

  • Office of the Director (-1.9%)
  • NCI (-1.3%)
  • NIDDK (-5.4%)
  • IGMS (-.5%)
  • NIMH (-6.4%)
  • NINDS (-7.5%)

Institutes that saw increases:

  • NIA (+2.3%)
  • NICHD (+.6%)
  • NIMHHD (+1.9%)
  • NCATS (+.5%)

Overall, the budget decreases NIH funding by 0.8% ( a decrease of $378M). The Alliances have continued to highlight the need for adequate resources to address emerging health challenges and sustain progress in medical research specifically in vision with an emphasis on the projected rising prevalence of vision loss. "We share concerns about the impact this will have on vision researchers," said Ignaszewski. "Vision research plays a critical role in addressing the burden of eye diseases and improving public health outcomes. As such, it's imperative that FY25 funding reflects a commitment to increasing resources for vision research."

Looking ahead to the FY25 appropriations process, the Alliances are emphasizing the need for sustained advocacy efforts to ensure that vision research funding receives the attention and support it deserves. We are leading efforts to urge Congress to prioritize an increase in funding for vision research in FY25 to $1B for NEI and $30M for the VRP.

The President’s budget for FY25 requests a very modest increase for NEI of 0.3% or $2,251,000 up to $898.8M. While we recognize and appreciate the Administration prioritizing an increase, more funding is necessary to accurately reflect the value of vision research and provide sustainable funding to account for inflation plus growth.

NAEVR/AEVR remains committed to advocating for increased funding for vision research and will continue working with stakeholders and policymakers to advance this critical priority.