The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research announced its support for a statement from the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, of which it is a member, to Congress indicating disapproval of the White House Fiscal Year 2020 budget request for federal spending.
The proposal includes $34.4 billion in NIH funding, which represents a cut of $4.7 billion, or 12.1%.
Additionally, the President’s budget proposes a funding level of $686 million for the NEI, a cut of $111 million, or 13.9%, according to a press release from the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR).
“The President’s budget request for the NIH would decimate the nation’s longstanding commitment to improving and saving lives through federal support for medical research,” according to the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research’s statement to Congress. “The President’s proposal to cut funding for the NIH by nearly $5 billion, more than 12% below current levels, would undermine progress on research to find treatments and cures for patients nationwide while threatening our narrowing competitive edge in an increasingly innovation-based international marketplace.”
According to the NAEVR press release, the vision community had requested a $2.5 billion increase in NIH funding for FY2010 over FY2019 to at least $41.6 billion. In addition, they had also requested a $53 million NEI funding increase to $850 million that hinged on a bipartisan budget deal to raise the Budget Control Act caps for nondefense discretionary spending.
Although the budget’s supporting documentation includes a top-line discussion about NIH priorities in its section on the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, full details including Congressional Justifications are still forthcoming.
In a response to the budget blueprint, NAEVR supported the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research’s statement regarding the President’s FY2020 budget proposal, according to a release from the organization.
“The President’s FY2020 budget proposes to fund the NEI at $686 million, a cut of $111 million or 13.9% — to a level at which the NEI was funded in FY2015,” James Jorkasky, NAEVR executive director, said in support of the Ad Hoc Group’s statement. “The demographics of vision impairment and blindness simply do not support federal funding for vision research moving backwards, as vision loss is a growing public health problem due to the aging of the population, the disproportionate incidence of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations and the impact on vision of chronic diseases. The U.S. is facing a $717 billion inflation-adjusted annual cost of vision impairment and eye disease by year 2050, and that projected expense will not be reduced unless there is continued robust funding for the NEI to save sight and restore vision.”
According to the organization’s release, NAEVR will host a Private Vision Research Funding Foundation Advocacy Day on March 28, when requests of Congressional offices will again be made.