NAEVR’s Maryland Members Urge Sen. Mikulski to Improve on NEI Funding Proposed in the President’s FY2014 Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
[email protected]

NAEVR’s MARYLAND MEMBERS URGE SEN. MIKULSKI TO IMPROVE ON NEI FUNDING PROPOSED IN THE PRESIDENT’S FY2014 BUDGET

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) and four of its Maryland-based members—Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Association of Schools and Colleges of Ophthalmology (ASCO), BrightFocus Foundation, and Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB)—delivered a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) urging her to improve on National Eye Institute (NEI) funding proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget. The President’s budget would cut NEI funding by $2.1 million to $699 million from its FY2012 level of $701 million.

Although the NAEVR members recognize that the cut is primarily due to an $8.9 million reduction as a result of the conclusion of the NEI-sponsored Ocular Complications of AIDS studies, which were funded by the NIH Office of AIDS Research, they caution that it still reflects a cut and no growth in the NEI budget. The cut reduces the number of new grants by 35, which follows a reduction of 30 grants in FY2013 as a result of the $36 million sequester cut. In addition, the cut jeopardizes NEI’s global leadership in vision research, as well as the vision community’s ability to develop vision scientists and to attract and retain highly trained individuals.

“We cannot stress strongly enough the vision challenges of The Decade of Vision, especially those posed by an aging population. As a tireless advocate for our senior population, as well as for biomedical research, you know that investing now in vision research can increase productivity, maintain independence, and ensure quality of life while saving and preventing healthcare expenditures,” wrote the signatories.

On April 29, NAEVR submitted testimony to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee file, expressing its concerns to Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS). ARVO also submitted testimony.

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.