NAEVR Statement on House Appropriations Committee Proposed FY2024 NIH Budget

(Washington, DC) The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) expresses concern over the proposed funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the House Labor Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Committee Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget.

As a leading advocate for medical research and innovation in vision care, NAEVR represents fifty-five member organizations and companies and serves as the Friends of the National Eye Institute (NEI). Together, we recognize the value that NIH-funded research has in advancing progress toward new treatments, interventions, and cures, and the detrimental impact cuts and level funding of research has on the health of all Americans.

We recognize the difficult task appropriators face given the discretionary spending limits outlined earlier this year in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, however, this proposal cuts NIH funding by over 6% and keeps many institutes level funded which is effectively a cut due to the 4.5% inflation that occurred in FY2022. By not including increases to the Institutes within the NIH to keep pace with inflation and provide growth, this proposal would devastate our investment in public health.

“By reducing overall NIH funding and keeping the National Eye Institute at the FY2023 funding level, this proposal would significantly harm the advancements in science that are leading to new treatments, cures, and interventions,” said Executive Director, Dan Ignaszewski. “With the investments that have been made in recent years through bipartisan support for NIH growth, science is on the cutting edge of major advancements. With the advent of gene therapies, new approaches to regenerative medicine, and a focus on new and improved treatments, now is the time to invest more, not less, in vision science.”

Over 90 million Americans over 40 are living with vision conditions that can affect their ability to see and experience the world. With an aging population, the incidence of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and other blinding conditions is expected to double by 2050 without appropriate interventions. Vision conditions currently cost Americans nearly $200 million a year and are expected to exceed $750 billion (inflation-adjusted) by 2050.

For these reasons, NAEVR continues to advocate for at least $51 billion for the NIH’s base program level and $975 million for the National Eye Institute. NAEVR strongly urges the Subcommittee to work in a bipartisan manner to reject cuts to medical research and provide appropriate funding for NIH and NEI to continue to build on advancements in research so we can improve the health of all Americans now and in the future.