Fall 2019
Proposed FY 2020 Funding for VMLRP and VSGP
Federal government officials continue to wrangle with passage of the FY 2020 Appropriations. The nation is currently operating on a Continuing Resolution (CR) which expires Nov. 21. House and Senate negotiators are working out the differences between House and Senate appropriations numbers and hope to have an agreement on funding before that date. High-impact programs for veterinary medicine up for consideration include the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Plan (VMLRP) and Veterinary Service Grant Programs (VSGP). The House version includes $9 million for the VMLRP in 2020, up from $8 million, and $3 million for the VSGP. The Senate version includes $8 million for the VMLRP and $3 million for the VSGP. There are many other key programs awaiting final resolution for FY 2020 funding.
AAVMC and APLU Present Gene-Editing Summit
The AAVMC and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) recently teamed up to present a symposium on the scientific, ethical and commercial implications of gene editing in animal agriculture. Titled “ Gene Editing in Livestock: Looking to the Future,” the meeting attracted about 60 people to hear thoughts from leading experts from academia, government, industry, and professional groups. “We took a big step toward developing a regulatory framework that is responsive to many different stakeholders,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We were especially pleased with the stature and expertise of the leaders who gathered for this important event.” To examine the program and learn more about the people who attended, please click here.
AAVMC Leaders Confer with USDA-APHIS Leaders on Gene Editing, Workforce
AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, Senior Director for Academic and Research Affairs Dr. Ted Mashima and Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain met with USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and the APHIS leadership on September 17. Agenda items included discussions on changes in APHIS leadership, our work on the gene editing issue, and general workforce issues at APHIS and USDA, which employs a large number of veterinarians.
America Grows Act Authorizes Five Percent USDA Annual Funding Increase
Agricultural research funding may get a much needed boost if the recently introduced America Grows Act is passed by Congress. Introduced in the House by Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) – all members of the House Agriculture Committee – the legislation provides a five-year, five percent increase in funding for the (USDA). Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Specific agencies slated for funding increases through bill provisions include the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NSS), and the Economic Research Service (ERS). These days, most domestic agriculture research is funded by large private-sector corporations. U.S. support for agriculture research has declined over the past several decades. By contrast, over the past 30 years, Chinese investment in agricultural research has risen eight-fold.
College Affordability Act Includes Important PSLF Components
The House Education and Labor Committee has introduced the College Affordability Act, a comprehensive bill designed to lower the cost of education, improve accountability, and create greater opportunity. Components of the bill improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has been saddled by regulatory and procedural issues that have limited its effectiveness. Click here to read and listen to a recent NPR story concerning problems with the PSLF program.
USDA NIFA/ERS Move to Kansas
The federal government’s relocation of the USDA’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) and Economic Research Service (ERS) to Kansas City continues – but not without complications. Employee attrition and relocation delays have reduced the headcount and created a temporary set of dual locations for the agencies, according to an article published by the Federal News Network (FNN). The FNN story reported that ERS now has a total headcount of 143, which is 186 positions fewer than the 329 positions reported in June. The same story said NIFA has 90 employees, 225 fewer than the 315 USDA reported in June. This article from the Canton Ledger says that about 180 of their 250 employees are leaving the agency. AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director and AVMA colleagues continue to work with USDA/NIFA to make sure that Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and Veterinary Service Grant Programs (VSGP) are administered properly and that the grants are going out on time.
Congress Considering One Health Bill
The AAVMC has joined a coalition to support the passage of the One Health Act. H.R. 3771/S.1903 will create greater collaboration and coordination between the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies. The bill will help the federal government better organize its efforts to prevent and deal with events like zoonotic disease outbreaks and other threats arising at the intersection of human, animal and environmental health. The AAVMC is encouraging member institutions to sign on as supporters of the legislation. Please contact Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain ( kcain@aavmc.org and 202-371-9195 ext. 117) for more information.
NIAMREE Participates in Major National Antibiotic Symposium
Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain recently represented the AAVMC at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) Ninth Annual NIAA Antibiotic Symposium in Ames, Iowa. The meeting theme was “Communicating the Science of Responsible Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture” and included a workshop and presentations by the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE) and the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism on strategies for more effectively communicating the scientific facts around antibiotic resistance and the role of animal agriculture. The AAVMC was instrumental in creating the NIAMREE. NIAMREE Executive Director Dr. Paul Plummer also recently participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill that focused on the AMR issue.
"Rally for Medical Research” Building Support for the NIH
AAVMC representatives participated in a “Rally for Medical Research Hill Day” designed to increase support for NIH Funding. Begun in 2013 when the NIH was facing devastating financial cuts, this year’s effort was supported by 36 organizations. The effort has apparently paid off: there have now been four straight years of significant funding increases for the NIH. During the four-year period from FY2016 to FY2019, the NIH budget has increased by 30 percent or $9 billion. This year’s event honored key legislators, included a presentation from NIH Director Frances Collins, and honored former NPR journalist Cokie Roberts, who had supported earlier efforts. Click here to view a video shared during the kick-off breakfast. Click here to view a gallery of photos.
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.
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