Fall 2017
2018 Farm Bill Front and Center
The 2018 Farm Bill is being shaped on Capitol Hill, and as always, it's a topic of major interest and activity with national and international implications. The AAVMC is working closely with the Supporters of Agriculture Research (SOAR) group, and is one of 66 signatories on a letter to Congressional leaders that outlines 10 major recommendations. One of the most significant is an initiative that establishes an overall goal of $6 billion over the life of the Farm Bill to support food and agricultural research at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This would double the baseline budget for several key USDA agencies, much like the National Institutes of Health budget was doubled in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The first Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA), was passed by Congress in 1933 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Since then, the omnibus legislation has been considered and passed about every five years. Agriculture accounts for almost $1 trillion in GDP and one in ten jobs. But U.S. funding for agriculture research has declined substantially in recent years. China, for example, now spends about double the U.S. in agriculture research.
AAVMC Working to Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Preservation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a major priority for the AAVMC and more than 50 other organizations. The PSLF program has been targeted for elimination by the Trump administration. Leading those preservation efforts on Capitol Hill is a PSLF Caucus, formed by Congressmen Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA-13) and Ryan Costello (R-PA-6) and the AAVMC is fully supporting their work. 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.
Cain Attends AVMA State Advocacy Council Meeting
The AAVMC operates a robust governmental affairs program, principally focused on federal legislative and executive branch initiatives. Operating a comprehensive state governmental relations program is beyond the scope of current AAVMC staffing capacity. But a lot of state level issues rise to national significance. To keep up, Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain works with university governmental relations officers and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) counterparts. Cain recently attended the AVMA State Advocacy Council meeting in Schaumburg, Illinois, where major issues on the docket included legislative activity related to the recovery of non-economic damages, cannabis prescription, regulation of controlled substances and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP), mandatory prescription writing proposals, and antimicrobial stewardship. Like to know more? Contact Kevin Cain at kcain@aavmc.org.
Cain, Luke Discuss Educational Debt at AVMA Economic Summit
AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain and AVMA Government Relations Assistant Director Gina Luke made a presentation on the "Fix-the-Debt" initiative and economic issues in veterinary medicine during the recent AVMA Economic Summit in Schaumburg, Illinois. Their presentation focused on current legislative agenda items such as the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which contains provisions that affect financial aid as well as student loan repayment. They also updated the group on the Fix-the-Debt campaign. The talk was modeled after presentations they've made at several member institutions over the last several months, including the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
AAVMC/APLU Efforts to Address AMR
The AAVMC's antimicrobial resistance initiatives have been included in the United Nations' first global " Call to Action on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)" held in mid-October in Berlin, Germany. The Call to Action is a new and ongoing opportunity for the global community to consider current work in AMR initiatives and identify priorities and gaps in the global response. The initiative emerged from the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016, where world leaders convened and committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to addressing the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture. AMR programs were showcased during the conference, and shared with the UN AMR Interagency Coordination Group (IACG), which is co-chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Director General of the World Health Organization.
Maccabe, Cain Present at USAHA Annual Meeting in San Diego
AAVMC CEO Andrew T. Maccabe and Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain recently made presentations at the combined 121st annual meeting of the  United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and 60th meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians  (AAVLD) in San Diego, California. Maccabe made a presentation during the opening plenary session titled "The Role of Academic Veterinary Medicine in Combating Antimicrobial Resistance." Cain presented an update on AAVMC governmental relations initiatives during the business meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Laboratory Diagnostics' Government Relations Committee. The USAHA is an 1,100-member group of state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives, and individuals that works to control livestock diseases in the United States.
AAVMC Hosts Ranking Pakistani Veterinary Medical Delegation
A high-ranking delegation of Pakistani veterinary officials recently spent two days in Washington, D.C., meeting with officials from the AAVMC, AVMA, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The visit followed Pakistan's University of Veterinary and Animal Health Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, joining the AAVMC as an affiliate earlier this year. The AAVMC coordinated the visit and created the detailed itinerary. Following meetings with several AAVMC officials the group met with a series of administrators at the USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS), the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The group also met with officials at the AVMA's Governmental Relations Division. Following their Washington visit, the delegation spent two days visiting the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine as guests of Dean Paul Lunn.
"Pet Night on Capitol Hill" Attracts 450
Veterinary Caucus Co-Chairs Ted Yoho (R-Florida) and Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) were on hand for "Pet Night."
"Pet Night on Capitol Hill" provides a unique opportunity for the profession to make its case with members of Congress, and the AAVMC has helped sponsor the event for several years. About 450 people attended the early October event, which attracts legislative staffers, and leaders from business, government and interest groups. Thirteen members of Congress attended this year, AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain said, which is about twice as many than ordinarily attend. Pet Night is hosted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the Pet Leadership Council (PLC). Veterinary Caucus Co-Chairs Ted Yoho (R-Florida) and Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) were among those that presented remarks and participated in presentation ceremonies. "This is a very important advocacy event," said Cain. "This event is focused on pets and the human animal bond, but it's a powerful recognition opportunity for the entire profession."
Please contact: AAVMC Government 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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