NAEVR Supports Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Statement on President’s FY2021 Proposed Budget

(Washington, D.C.) (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 the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget proposal that would cut National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by $3 billion, or more than 7 percent, below the final FY2020 level, and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $75 million, or more than 9 percent, below the final FY2020 level.

The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research stated:  

“At a time when medical research is yielding breakthroughs once considered impossible, the President’s budget request for the NIH would devastate the agency’s ability to pursue promising new science to improve and save lives. The President’s proposal to cut funding for the NIH by $3 billion, more than 7 percent below current levels, would erode the incredible progress toward developing new preventive interventions, diagnostics, treatments, and cures for patients nationwide while also threatening our narrowing competitive edge in an increasingly innovation-based international marketplace.

Thankfully, despite recent White House budget requests, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have made meaningful, reliable funding for NIH a key national priority. This noteworthy investment has helped to increase the pace of biomedical research, reenergize existing and aspiring scientists nationwide, and restore hope for patients and their families. Patient advocates and researchers will once again work with Congress to support the needed steady growth in funding for NIH in FY 2021 and reject the unfounded proposed funding levels that dismiss the value of biomedical research and the hope it brings to the American people. Over 330 organizations and institutions in the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research recommend a funding level of $44.7 billion for NIH for FY 2021.

For the United States to take full advantage of today’s unprecedented scientific opportunity, renew our global leadership in science and technology, and strengthen our national security, our federal investment in medical research must reflect meaningful, reliable funding increases above inflation within the base NIH budget. We must maintain the forward momentum that Congress has driven over the past five years. The Ad Hoc Group looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to realize this vision and to ensure better health for patients in FY2021 and beyond.”

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky added the following brief statement:

“The President’s FY2021 budget proposes to fund the NEI at a level below that of FY2018. Even a cursory reading of the NEI’s FY2021 Congressional Justification emphasizes that the Institute is on the verge of many research breakthroughs to save sight and restore vison. The demographics of vision impairment and blindness simply do not support federal funding for vision research moving backwards, as the United States faces an annual $717 billion inflation-adjusted cost of vision impairment and eye disease by year 2050.”

NAEVR is a signatory on the Ad Hoc Group’s FY2021 NIH funding recommendation and is also urging Congress to fund the NEI at a level of $875 million, a $51 million or 6.2 percent increase, above the FY2020 level.   

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