Winter 2018
New Continuing Resolution Funds Government Through Feb. 8
Following a brief government shutdown resulting from political gridlock, an emergency spending bill has been passed to keep the federal government running through February 8. While the Continuing Resolution keeps the lights on, CR's delay the final appropriation process and create uncertainty among the federal agencies administering their programs. Agencies like the USDA, for example, can continue to operate on the basis of FY 2017 budget appropriation levels. However, there is no money for new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) or Veterinary Services Grant program (VSGP) awards available until the FY 2018 appropriations are approved. Efforts continue to negotiate a budget package. Here's an article that explains some of the problems with operating under CR's.
AAVMC working with Supporters of Agricultural Research to Boost Ag Appropriations
The AAVMC has joined about 70 other organizations affiliated with the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR) in signing onto a letter to House and Senate leaders advocating for funding of antimicrobial resistance problems. The AAVMC has also signed onto a letter calling for support of the 2018 FY Ag Appropriations Allocation Bill. The food and agricultural sector contributes nearly $1 trillion to the national economy every year, or approximately 5.5% of the nation's GDP. The sector supports over 22 million American jobs, or nearly 15% of U.S. employment. Since FY 2010, the inflation-adjusted agricultural appropriations budget has fallen by 20%. These reductions pose immediate and long-term threats to food security, national security and America's ability to lead in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Versions of the letter have been sent to four sets of Congressional leaders, including: 
House Agriculture Committee Launches Farm Bill Website
The 2018 Farm Bill is slated for consideration during the 115th Congress. To provide updates and information about the bill and its status, the House Agriculture Committee has launched a new website specifically focused on the farm bill which can be accessed through the committee's main website. Following the launch, Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas - 11th) shared the following statement. "I'm committed to completing a farm bill on time. We've spent the past three years preparing - holding 113 hearings and six listening sessions around the country. We recognize what's at stake. We're working on getting the policy right and will use this site as a resource as we advance the next farm bill." Many of the provisions of the Farm Bill directly affect academic veterinary medicine and U.S. Land-Grant universities.
New Jersey Bill Seeks to Establish Educational Contracts in Veterinary Medicine
Many AAVMC member institutions maintain contracts with neighboring states without veterinary colleges and schools to provide educational services. That remains a viable way to ensure that a state provides the educational opportunities it needs for its residents  - and ensures that the state reaps all the benefits of modern veterinary medicine. New Jersey Senate Bill 737 directs the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to contract with out-of-state schools of veterinary medicine to provide a total of 120 seats per year in other schools by the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Under the terms of the agreement, the graduates would be required to work in a veterinary medicine position in New Jersey for a period of 18 months for each year of contract funding provided for the student. The bill is currently making its way through the New Jersey statehouse.
CDC's ZOHU Program Links Public Health/Animal Health Officials
The CDC has been presenting a monthly one-hour ZOHU (Zoonotic & One Health Updates) conference call and webinar on the first Wednesday of every month from 2-3 p.m. EST (except in January and July). More than 1,000 public health and animal health officials from government, industry and academia routinely participate in calls related to current issues. Experts generally make a presentation, and a Q&A session follows. Members of AAVMC institutions are invited to consider leading a call. Those wishing to join the program can email and include their name and affiliation. The CDC's Healthy Pets Health People website contains information on zoonotic disease threats related to companion and agricultural animals, as well as wildlife. It also contains updates on the status of outbreaks in the United States. Member wishing more information are invited to contact AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain, who recently met with CDC officials to discuss One Health programs and opportunities for increased collaboration. 
Efforts to Resuscitate PSLF Program Continue
The House Committee On Education and the Workforce passed the PROSPER Act (HR 4508) Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform on Dec. 12., which essentially ends the PSLF for most students taking out loans after June 30, 2019. The PSLF program was created in 2007 to encourage more Americans to pursue public service careers despite the more modest salaries and increased financial burdens of student debt. Under the provisions of the program, teachers, firefighters, police officers and other full-time public service workers including doctors, nurses and veterinarians, can have their student debt forgiven after 10 years of public service employment and 120 on-time payments. More than half a million people have enrolled over the last decade. The AAVMC and AVMA are active participants in a major coalition working to protect the program. They sent a profession specific impact  letter signed by 120 animal related organizations to the PSLF Caucus and members of the House Education and Workforce committees. The AAVMC is an active member of the EDtoMed effort initiated by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). That page contains guidance and tools on a #SavePSLF webpage for those seeking to help. The AAVMC is also collaborating with other organizations in the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) to save the program.

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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