Veterinary programs fare well in 2018 federal spending bills

Veterinary Voices Guiding Public Policy

The AVMA’s advocacy team has been working hard to protect and advance federal funding for programs related to veterinary medicine, including loan repayment programs, animal welfare enforcement and research. Despite a tight federal budget and political pressure on Congress to cut spending, we’re happy to announce that our efforts secured strong funding levels for veterinary priorities in spending bills approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on July 12 and 20, respectively.

While specific spending numbers differ between the House and Senate versions, there’s good news for veterinarians in both bills. For instance, both bills maintain spending levels for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. This chart compares numbers in the two bills and details the funding levels requested by the AVMA.

There are several different ways the bills can move forward for full consideration in the House and Senate. Options available to lawmakers over the final two months of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, are a “minibus” (a few bills packaged and passed together), an omnibus (all 12 spending bills passed as a package), a cromnibus (some bills passed at fiscal 2018 levels and others continuing fiscal 2017 levels), or a series of continuing resolutions until Congress works out a final deal on spending. The least likely courses are passage of a yearlong continuing resolution at fiscal 2017 funding levels or a government shutdown.

If you’re concerned about funding levels for programs important to veterinary medicine, we encourage you to visit our website to learn about different ways you can get involved.

2 thoughts on “Veterinary programs fare well in 2018 federal spending bills

  1. Is the AVMA Advocacy Team doing any work to keep the Public Student Loan Forgiveness plan alive? I know a lot of veterinarians (myself included) who are eligible and hoping to utilize this program, and the Trump administration has expressed plans to discontinue it.

    • Thanks for your comment, Cameron. We understand that Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is critical to veterinarians who have chosen careers in federal and state governments as well as academia, nonprofits and other public sector jobs. Additionally, we know many veterinary students want to participate in PSLF upon graduation. AVMA is dedicated to preserving this important program and we have a multi-year record of advocating for PSLF on Capitol Hill. For many years, AVMA advocated to safeguard PSLF when former President Obama sought to cap forgiveness in his annual budget proposals. Now that President Trump’s administration and some in Congress are eyeing the program as too expensive, we have stepped up our defense of the program. Recently, AVMA became a founding member of a new coalition to preserve PSLF. To that end, AVMA is collecting stories from veterinarians participating in PSLF. If you’re participating in PSLF and are interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you. You can email me at culrich@avma.org.

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