Summer 2017
House Budget Proposal Mitigates Most of Trump Budget Challenges for Academic Veterinary Medicine
The Trump administration's proposed budget contained big cuts for several key initiatives and AAVMC priorities. But the House Appropriations Committee's FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill has restored most of the provisions.

The Trump budget eliminated all funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). It cut funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) from $6.5 million to $4.99 million. It cut Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funding from $375 million to $349 million. And it cut NIH by $7.1 billion. Finally, it eliminated the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program altogether.

The House bill keeps these programs at current funding levels ($6.5 million for VMLRP, $2.5 million for VSGP, and $375 million for AFRI) and also keeps almost all of our priorities funded at least at FY 2017 levels. The NIH budget and the PSLF program are not part of the ag bill and their status remains uncertain.

The AAVMC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) are collaborating with dozens of organizations and coalitions to advocate against the cuts, and continuing efforts to educate members and staff about the value of our programs.

To read a detailed assessment of the implications of President Trump's proposed budget on veterinary medicine prepared by the AVMA, please click here.
AAVMC, AVMA Join Senior Leaders for Agrodefense Policy Discussion in Washington
Senator Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts examines AAVMC informational materials.
Strong and productive agricultural systems supporting a safe and healthy food supply are a key part of national security. AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain and AVMA Assistant Director of Government Relations Gina Luke recently joined a group of 16 lawmakers and other top officials for an AgroDefence Policy Discussion to probe that topic on June 27.

Organized by Kansas State University, guests included Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Former Secretary of Homeland Security and chairman of Ridge Global Tom Ridge, and other policy experts from government, business and professional organizations.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from Kansas State University President General Richard Myers and former Senator Thomas A. Daschle, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C. based The Daschle Group.

Discussions focused on the threat of bioterrorism and the need for agrodefense as a component of a comprehensive national biodefense strategy. The group also focused on measures that Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, and the nation must take to safeguard the nation and address the threat.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program Proposed for Elimination
The AAVMC has signed on with several organizations trying to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which is scheduled for elimination in the Trump administration's budget proposal.

The program provides loan repayment incentives that encourage professionals to serve in often lower-paying, public service oriented jobs. For example, veterinarians who elect to pursue careers as USDA food inspectors would qualify for the program. Currently, public servants with student debt must pay at least 10% of their discretionary income for 120 months of public service. After that, the remainder of the student debt is forgiven.

Large student debt loads discourage many professionals from taking relatively lower-paying - but crucial - public interest jobs serving constituents that include veterans, patients, children and the elderly.

Public servants ranging from first responders to lawyers to medical professionals like doctors, nurses and veterinarians often take advantage of the program while serving in public service oriented positions.

If the PSLF program is eliminated, it may ultimately diminish the number of professionals pursuing careers in public service.

A coalition of organizations opposed to the budget-related elimination has been created to advocate for continuation of the program.

The coalition has created a new advocacy platform to support the initiative, which includes a suite of useful advocacy programs.

Congressional Agricultural Research Caucus Formed
Many of our U.S. members are based at American Land-Grant universities and work closely with neighboring agriculture colleges on campus to advance shared initiatives in animal health and productivity. And much of the money that ultimately supports key programs in veterinary medicine is sourced from the USDA.

To help Congress better support and understand key issues in agriculture, a Congressional Agriculture Research Caucus has been created by Congressmen Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Cal.).

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) is working closely with the caucus to ensure that caucus members have access to important information. And the AAVMC is working to make sure the caucus is appropriately briefed on crossover issues bridging veterinary medicine and agriculture, according to Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain.

Members interested in connecting with the Agriculture Caucus should email staffer(s) Jimmy Ballard (Congressman Davis' office) at and Brandon Huneycutt (Congressman Panetta's office) at

NASFAA Creates Budget Effect Estimator to Illustrate Budget Cut Impact
President Trump's proposed FY 2018 budget, which impacts the 2018-19 school year, will dramatically affect student aid, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). Altogether, the group says, the president's budget represents almost $150 billion in cuts to student aid over the next 10 years.

To help individual institutions gain a sense of how they may be affected by the proposed cuts, NASFAA has developed this budget estimator tool.
APLU Launches Video for Campaign
The APLU's Board on Agriculture Assembly's budget and advocacy committee has launched the " Redefining American Agriculture for the 21st Century" video as part of efforts to market the nation's land-grant system and increase federal support.

Helping policymakers and the public understand the complexion of modern agriculture and the key role it plays in nourishing and protecting a healthy society is key to the AgAction campaign.

The video highlights the role of science, technology and innovation in agriculture.

The portal makes it easy for supporters to write to members of Congress and urge support for APLU's request of a $200 million increase in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's capacity programs and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

The AAVMC works closely with the APLU on several issues and programs.

Politicians and Their Pups
AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain and friend Christine Davies pose with Senator Bob Dole at the Washington Humane Alliance's annual Bark Ball.
You never know who you're going to bump into in Washington. AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain was attending the annual fundraiser for the Washington Humane Alliance - "The Bark Ball" - when he heard someone call out: "Hey, what kind of dog is that? Let me get a picture with that one!"

Cain turned to chat, and it was none other than former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole.

After introducing his boxer Scout and friend Christine Davies, Cain asked Dole about his dog Leader, who used to keep company with the Senator in his office on Capitol Hill. Dole quipped "oh, that must have been Leader 1. We're on Leader 3 now!"

Leader isn't the only dog to spend time with its owner on Capitol Hill. Several deans have visited with Senators and Representatives who just happen to have their pet dogs with them during the AAVMC's Advocacy Day.

And former president Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish terrier Fala is cast in bronze at the foot of his master at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Capitol Mall.

Needless to say, pets are a great catalyst for discussions with lawmakers about academic veterinary medicine. For an interesting look at U.S. presidents and their pets visit the Presidential Pet Museum.
A Disturbing Glimpse of "Agricultural Illiteracy"
Veterinary medical and agriculture colleges work hard to educate students and all kinds of other people about the complexity and importance of what they do. But a new study by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy suggests there's a lot of work to be done.

According to a story in the Washington Post developed from the survey, about seven percent of U.S. adults (16.4 million) believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Yikes!

Strength Through Numbers
The political process is shaped by the voices of hundreds of stakeholder organizations and coalitions that share common views on key issues. Here's a sampling of some recent letters supporting key initiatives the AAVMC has signed onto.
  • A letter voicing support for Section 1433 and the new Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention Program.
  • A letter supporting the Coalition for Health Funding, Committee for Education Funding, and the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce in calling for an increase in the 302b allocation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
  • A letter endorsing the FY 2018 funding recommendation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as coordinated by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research.
  • A letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price demonstrating stakeholder support for continued investments in the antimicrobial resistance with a one health approach (including incentives for R&D, and funding for prevention, stewardship, surveillance, research, etc.).
  • A letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science urging support for research and development in the President's FY 2018 budget request. Here's a useful animated video on the budget process produced by the AAAS.
  • A letter from the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NCFAR) urging the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to reauthorize a strong research title in the new Farm Bill.
Please contact: AAVMC Government Affairs Director Kevin Cain at or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117) with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.

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Medical Colleges

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