Fall 2020
FDA Perspective Featured During Gene Editing Task Force Meeting
The AAVMC/APLU Task Force on Gene Editing in Food Animals held their fourth meeting on Wednesday, October 14. Dr. Heather Lombardi, Director, Division of Animal Bioengineering and Cellular Therapies at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) briefed task force members. Lombardi was joined by three of her team members who assisted during Q&A: Adam Moyers, Harlan Howard and Stella Lee. Lombardi presented an overview of the FDA perspective and indicated the pandemic has hampered the FDA’s ability to present outreach meetings required to assess stakeholder sentiment regarding any proposed changes. The issue has recently garnered more attention among producer-groups and policy-makers. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has taken the position that regulatory responsibility for gene editing in food animals should be moved to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2021 Faculty Fellows Program on Hiatus Because of Pandemic
The AAVMC has been forced to cancel the 2021 Faculty Fellows program as a result of the pandemic. Because of uncertainties about travel, office work, meetings and the Congressional schedule, planners determined the Fellowship program could not be presented in a way that measured up to established standards of quality. Applications for the 2022 spring-summer program will be taken during Fall 2021. The Washington, D.C.-based six-to-eight week program helps faculty members develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the importance of public policy decisions to the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.
Continuing Resolution Funds Government Through December
On September 30, President Trump signed into law HR 8337, a Continuing Resolution (CR) which will keep the federal government funded at current levels through December 11. Fiscal Year 2020 officially ended that same day, and without a CR, a government shutdown would have occurred. This means a delay in passing the FY 2021 appropriations until after the upcoming elections. AAVMC priority programs, such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) will not be able to receive additional funding until the new appropriations bills are signed into law. It is uncertain how long Congress will take to act on appropriations bills before the December 11 deadline, or if they will be able to pass all of the funding bills before the end of this Congress.
Pandemic Relief Funding Remains Stymied
Negotiations continue on funding for another round of coronavirus relief measures, but the two sides remain far apart. House Democrats, Senate Republicans and the Administration all have very different priorities for any potential new bill. The Senate attempted to pass a smaller package of bills, which they designated as emergency relief funding, but Democrats refused to allow a final vote on the legislation. The House had already passed a $2.2 trillion bill on October 2, as their final effort before the election. The President has provided several different positions and statements regarding a relief package, which has elevated uncertainty. At one point he formally ended the negotiations, but then retreated and has since urged Congress to “go big.” At this time, very few people expect to see any type of relief package until after the election, and potentially not until the new Congress takes office in January.
AAVMC Preparing for Post-Election Scenarios
The election is almost upon us. All 435 Members of the House, 34 Senate seats (including a special election in Georgia) and the White House are all on the ballot November 3. At this time, polls indicate a victory for Joe Biden, a pickup of five to seven Senate seats for the Democrats (which would give them a majority) and a pickup of 10 or more House seats for Democrats, which would strengthen their already large majority. AAVMC is already in touch with the candidates’ transition teams. We are working with several of our coalition partners to keep our legislative priorities, especially those impacting higher education, front and center for all of the candidates.
Cain Represents AAVMC at AAVLD/USAHA Conference
AAVMC Director for Legislative Relations Kevin Cain made a presentation at the joint virtual meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA). Cain’s presentation to the Committee on the National Animal Health Laboratory Network focused on how diagnostic testing laboratories based at AAVMC member institutions have stepped up to assist with human testing during the massive national testing effort underway to battle the pandemic. As a member of the Government Relations Committee, Cain and others spoke with USDA officials about funding and support that could enhance the support provided by the laboratory network.
Advocacy Letters

The AAVMC continues to work closely with a wide array of organizations that share our interests in supporting the advancement of academic veterinary medicine, food security and public health. The letters below reflect some of that recent activity.

Please contact: AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain at kcain@aavmc.org or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117) with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.
AAVMC Newsletters

The AAVMC is working hard to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in every dimension of academic veterinary medicine. To foster this goal, the photographs and illustrations which are used in our communications programs are aspirational, and do not necessarily reflect the levels of diversity and inclusion that currently exist.

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