NAEVR Statement on the Continuing Resolution that Funds the Government in FY2021 Until December 11

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement in response to Congress passing, and the President signing, the Continuing Resolution that funds the government from the start of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 on October 1  through December 11, 2020. Agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are funded at the FY2020 level by the CR. NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky said:

“NAEVR appreciates that Congress and the Administration approved a Continuing Resolution to continue government operations that avoid a shutdown. We are grateful that the CR also gives the NIH targeted flexibility to preserve certain multi-year grants. At the same time, however, we remain extremely concerned that funding for research supported by NIH and its National Eye Institute (NEI) remains uncertain despite ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We urge Congress to finalize FY2021 appropriations that include funding to build the NIH/NEI base—as Congress has done in in the last five appropriations cycles—and provide emergency funding to support efforts to understand COVID-19 infections and develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as to support the research enterprise as it gradually resumes pre-pandemic activities. NAEVR has joined with nearly 200 organizations representing patients, clinicians, scientists, educators, institutions, and industry in expressing strong support for at least $15.5 billion in emergency funding for the NIH to address these concerns, including $10 billion for NIH grantee research relief.  

On September 24, NAEVR hosted a virtual Advocacy Day of 22 Emerging Vision Scientists (early-stage investigators) who asked Congress to finalize FY2021 appropriations and provide NIH research relief funding. The EVSs also described to their Congressional delegations how delayed appropriations are detrimental to research in limiting new programs or initiatives, delaying grant awards, and potentially requiring investigators to seek private “bridge” funding to continue research. Under the auspices of NAEVR’s educational foundation Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), the 22 EVSs also participated in a 30-minute discussion entitled Impact of COVID-19 Lab Closures on the Next Generation of Vision Scientists which addressed patient engagement, animal colonies and cell cultures, collaborations, training, and overall impact on career pathway.    

NAEVR urges Congress and the Administration to work expeditiously to enact this critical relief without further delay.”