How President Trump’s proposed budget would affect veterinary medicine

Sign-White-House-Address-300x300President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, unveiled Tuesday, may not win approval in its current form, but it will influence budget conversations moving forward. Accordingly, it’s important to consider how it would affect the veterinary profession. The AVMA examined the impact the proposal would have on key programs affecting veterinary medicine, and will fight vigorously to protect veterinary interests as the budget process moves forward.

In keeping with his campaign promise to reduce federal spending, President Trump’s budget proposes a $42 billion cut to non-defense discretionary spending while increasing discretionary defense spending by $27 billion. Included in the cuts are $4.8 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which would see its total budget drop to $21 billion in fiscal year 2018:

  • USDA’s staff would be reduced by 5,263 people.
  • All funding would be eliminated for the Veterinary Services Grant Program, and the Animal Health and Disease Research Program (both administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture).
  • The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program would lose $1.5 million.
  • The Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative would lose $2.3 million.

Additional details of the proposed USDA budget can be found on the USDA website.

Another big change would be the establishment of a user fee to cover all domestic inspection and import re-inspection, and most of the central operations costs for meat, poultry and egg inspection programs. Total collections are estimated to be $5.9 billion over 10 years. Additionally, user fees would be instituted for animal welfare ($9 million) requirements, and to offset the cost of biotechnology ($4 million) and veterinary biologic ($7 million) regulation. These fees could result in producers being less able to afford veterinary services.

The president’s budget also would impact student loan debt for veterinarians by significantly reducing funding for federal student aid beginning on July 1, 2018. Subsidized student loans would be eliminated for undergraduates, mirroring what already happened to graduate and professional students in 2012. The proposal would replace the five current income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, which help students manage their debt, with one new plan. The new plan – which would be the only income-driven repayment plan available for borrowers who originate their first student loan on or after July 1, 2018 – would cap payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary monthly income and limit loan payments to 30 years for borrowers with graduate debt. Remaining amounts owed after these repayment periods would be forgiven. The president’s proposal also would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Additionally, the National Institutes of Health would see its budget cut by $7.16 billion, with anticipated impacts on biomedical research.

Release of the president’s budget proposal is the opening round in budget negotiations, which means that many parties will have a chance to influence the final decision. The AVMA will advocate aggressively throughout the budget process to protect programs important to veterinary medicine.

Your voice can make a difference, too. We encourage you to visit our Congressional Advocacy Network to send a quick, pre-written letter to your representatives to support funding for vital programs like the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Your input can help move the needle on these important budget decisions.

As the national association representing all veterinarians, the AVMA is made stronger through the combined efforts of our diverse members. We encourage you also to explore the many other ways you can get involved in AVMA’s federal advocacy efforts to protect, promote and advance the work of veterinarians.

13 thoughts on “How President Trump’s proposed budget would affect veterinary medicine

  1. Thank land grant colleges for educating most of the US veterinary profession. How does slashing education and research funding make America great? When a country sacrifices it most valuable assets in the name of militarization, that country is no longer great. By the way, I am an ex-republican.

  2. Thank land grant colleges for educating most of the US veterinary profession. How does slashing education and research funding make America great?

  3. The cuts don’t go deep enough. The size and scope of the federal government needs to be cut by at least 50%. Go Trump!

    • There is always a possibility your parents, children or even you may suffer a chronic illness that leaves you in financial need. You will then see the other side a lot more clearly. If socialism means taking care of the sick, elderly and educating our children then bring it on. A nation this wealthy should be spending its money on making its citizens have better quality of life instead of spending it on wars that only the top 1 percent get rich from.

      • Donita, you said it beautifully.
        For whatever reason, too many people believe that cutting the Federal Budget will not affect them. Well, perhaps if they are in the 1-2%, that may be true. I hope that even if I WERE in that 1-2%, I would care enough about my fellow Americans that I would want everyone to be treated decently and that health care would not be denied them, that health care would not bankrupt them (in that case, we ALL lose, anyway,) that science would be respected, and the opportunity to pursue a decent education would be made possible for every one of us willing to work for it. As it is, and as the budget is proposed, only the very wealthiest among us (i.e., parents) would be able to afford to send anyone to school for higher education. This is a sad commentary on our American society.

    • So much for America first and American jobs first. How many people will lose their jobs with all these cuts? Without the education support, how many professionals will we lose in the coming years? Without their chosen fields in existence, they’ll be flooding into other fields, which will impact job hunters and current employees in those fields. These departments are also in place for good reasons, as are their regulations. Cheering their downfall is nothing short of malicious ignorance.

  4. Unfortunately Americans voted neglecting science and knowledge. Therefore a budget based on ignorance and lack of social needs was presented.
    I hope we will be able to reverse these decisions

  5. Please include the importance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program in the generated email to congress! Thank you for fighting for us!

  6. Seems Trump is going after our elderly, cripple, poor, and now helpless. as in our animals. We should all be rich like him.

  7. How about people shouldn’t have voted for Trump or continue to vote for Republicans that don’t believe in science.

      • Thank land grant colleges for educating most of the US veterinary profession. How does slashing education and research funding make America great?

  8. Thank you AVMA for protecting us students! I’ll be adding my voice to those calling on Washington!