January 23, 2017
Successfully advancing our initiatives requires strong collaboration with organizations and coalitions that share our goals and interests. Here are a few organizations we work closely with. 
Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH): CUGH builds interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitates the sharing of knowledge to address global health challenges. It assists members in sharing their expertise across education, research, and service. CUGH promotes mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships between universities in resource-rich and resource-poor countries, developing human capital and strengthening institutions' capabilities to address these challenges. It is committed to translating knowledge into action.

Council for Agriculture Science and Technology (CAST):
CAST is a nonprofit organization composed of scientific societies and many individual, student, company, nonprofit, and associate society members. CAST was established in 1972 as a result of a 1970 meeting sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council. The primary work of CAST is the publication of task force reports, commentary papers, special publications, and issue papers written by scientists from many disciplines.

Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP):
FASHP was created in 1968 and is composed of 14 of the associations representing the health professions schools, including veterinary medicine.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs:
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is an independent, non-partisan organization committed to educating the public - and influencing the public discourse - on global issues of the day. The Chicago Council brings together stakeholders to examine issues and offer policy insight into areas such as foreign policy, global agriculture, the global economy, global energy, global cities, global security, and global immigration.

EcoHealth Alliance:
EcoHealth Alliance is an international organization of scientists dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. For more than 40 years, EcoHealth Alliance has focused its efforts on conservation. Today it is known for innovative research on the intricate relationships between wildlife, ecosystems and human health.

Advocacy Activities
The Trump Administration and 115th Congress:
The Legislative Landscape for Academic Veterinary Medicine

A Look Ahead...
The Republicans plan to pursue a very ambitious agenda during the first 100 days of the 115th Congress. Much of the time in the Senate will be devoted to confirmation hearings, but both the House and Senate must finish the appropriations for FY 2017, as well as begin work on the appropriations bills for FY 2018. This process will be made more difficult since there is not a presidential budget to use as a baseline. It is believed that President-elect Trump will submit a high-level budget outline in early February, with a more detailed budget document sent to Congress much later this year. This means the most likely outcome for FY 2017 appropriations is that the current Continuing Resolution (CR), which is set to expire on April 28th, will instead be simply extended through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
Department of Education Leadership...
We will be keeping a very close watch on the confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education. Education is the smallest Cabinet level agency, but has the third largest discretionary appropriation. DeVos is important, but because she has a minimal record on higher education, the appointment of the Under Secretary will be very important. This position coordinates policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, career-technical education, adult education, and federal student aid. The Department of Education provides aid to 12+ million students annually - approximately $100 billion in new loans each year. In 2016 there was a $1.2 trillion loan portfolio covering 41 million loan borrowers. Also in 2016, one in four student loan borrowers were in default or struggling to repay their loans. This will surely be a central focus of the next administration.
Higher Education Act Reauthorization...
The 115th Congress will tackle reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which obviously has broad implications for our member institutions. Key points of concern for us include ensuring access, affordability and appropriate repayment provisions for our student borrowers. Some GOP concerns about the cost of accreditation programs, which serve as a gateway to federal financial aid programs, merit watching closely. Also, we will be watching any potential legislative action linking regulatory reform with obtaining gainful employment.
Secretary of Agriculture Appointment...
Former Georgia Governor Dr. Sonny Perdue has been selected by President Trump to serve as Secretary of Agriculture, pending confirmation hearings. It will be the first time a veterinarian has ever served in the post. Perdue earned a DVM degree from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1971 prior to serving as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He then operated several agricultural businesses before being elected Governor of Georgia, where he served two terms, from 2003 to 2011. "We're very pleased to see Governor Purdue nominated by President Trump to serve in this critical cabinet position," said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. "As a veterinarian he brings a unique understanding of the profound role veterinary medicine plays in our nation's production agriculture, food safety and food security systems. We look forward to his confirmation and working closely with his administration."
Five AAVMC Institutions Earn VSGP Funding
Five AAVMC member institutions are among the 12 organizations in 10 states awarded a total of $2.3 million in federal funding designed to help alleviate the shortage of veterinarians serving in rural areas. More than half of the total funding awarded will support university-based initiatives at our schools. The new Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, was a top priority for the AAVMC's government relations program. Member institutions receiving grants during the charter round of awards include: Specific information on these programs and other projects is available on the NIFA website.
PowerPoint Briefing: The Current Legislative Landscape
AAVMC Government Relations Director Kevin Cain and AVMA Government Relations Assistant Director Gina Luke briefed AAVMC and AVMA leaders on the emerging political landscape during the December 16, 2016 meeting of the AVMA/AAVMC Joint Committee in Washington. Click here to look at the PowerPoint presentation they used during that briefing.
Please contact
AAVMC Government Relations Director Kevin Cain at
kcain@aavmc.org or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117)
with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.