|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2019
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR SUBMITS FY2020 TESTIMONY TO SENATE APPROPRIATORS REQUESTING AT LEAST $41.6 B IN NIH, $850 M IN NEI FUNDING
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the Senate House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding. NAEVR submitted similar testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on April 4.
As with the House testimony, after thanking Congress for the total $9 billion in NIH funding increases over the past four fiscal years (2016 through 2019), NAEVR recognized that the increases have helped the agency regain ground lost after years of effectively flat budgets. For FY2020, NAEVR urges the Subcommittee to appropriate at least $41.6 billion for NIH, a $2.5 billion or 6.4 percent increase over the FY2019 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), as well as to ensure that funding from the Innovation Account established through the 21st Century Cures Act would supplement NIH's base budget, as intended, through dedicated funding for specific programs.
NAEVR thanked the Senate Subcommittee for its past efforts to ensure inflationary increases for the I/Cs. For FY2020, NAEVR urged the Subcommittee to appropriate at least $850 million for the NEI, a $53 million or 6.4 percent increase over enacted FY2019. This would allow for biomedical inflation of 2.8 percent plus growth. Despite the total FY2016-2019 funding increases of $120 million, NEI's enacted FY2019 budget of $797 million is just 14 percent greater than the pre-sequester FY2012 budget of $702 million. Averaged over the seven fiscal years, the 2 percent annual growth rate is less than the average annual biomedical inflation rate of 2.8 percent, thereby eroding purchasing power.
The Senate Subcommittee held its annual hearing with NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD on April 11, and its markup of the LHHS spending bill is expected on June 4. The House LHHS Appropriation Subcommittee marked up its bill on April 30, and it was approved by the full House Appropriations Committee on May 8. The House bill funds the NIH at $41.08 billion and the NEI at $835.5 million.
To facilitate these funding increases, NAEVR has also called upon Congress to pass a bipartisan budget deal to raise FY2020 and 2012 Budget Control Act caps, especially for NonDefense Discretionary spending, which includes biomedical research.
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.