NAEVR Submits FY2021 Testimony to House Appropriators Requesting $44.7 B in NIH, $875 M in NEI Funding

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.

NAEVR thanked Congress for the total $11.6 billion in NIH funding increases over the past five fiscal years (2016 through 2020), recognizing that it has helped the agency to regain some of the ground lost after years of effectively flat budgets. For FY2021, NAEVR urged the Subcommittee to appropriate $44.7 billion for NIH, a $3 billion or 7.2 percent increase over the FY2020 program level. This increase would allow for: meaningful growth above inflation in the base budget to support promising science across all Institutes and Centers (ICs); funding from the Innovation Account established through the 21st Century Cures Act which would supplement NIH’s base budget, as intended, through dedicated funding for specific programs; and support for the next generation of scientists.   

NAEVR also urged Congress to appropriate $875 million for NEI, a $51 million or 6.2 percent increase over enacted FY2020. Despite total FY2016-2020 funding increases of $146 million, NEI’s enacted FY2020 budget of $824.1million is just 21 percent greater than the pre-sequester FY2012 budget of $702 million. Averaged over the eight fiscal years, the 2.6 percent annual growth rate is less than the average annual biomedical inflation rate of 2.8 percent, thereby eroding purchasing power, which in FY2019 was below that of FY2012 and equivalent to that in FY2000. NAEVR wrote:

“Investing in vison health is an investment in overall health. NEI’s breakthrough research is a cost-effective investment, since it leads to treatments and therapies that may delay, save, and prevent health expenditures. It can also increase productivity, help individuals to maintain their independence, and generally improve the quality of life—as vision loss is associated with increased depression/accelerated mortality.”

Since Congress rejected the Trump Administration’s three past budgets that proposed to cut NIH funding and make policy and structural changes, NAEVR did not address the President’s FY2021 proposed budget, which again would cut NIH/NEI funding.

NAEVR’s funding positions have been supported in office visits made during the February 8 ARVO Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) Advocacy Day and the February 26 American Glaucoma Society Advocacy Day.

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