Spring 2021
PREP Act Amended to Include Veterinary Students
On March 11, the Biden Administration released language in the Federal Register updating the Public Readiness and Preparedness (PREP) Act. The updated language allows “any…veterinary student with appropriate training in administering vaccines as determined by his or her school or training program” to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This was a priority for AAVMC as we worked with the other schools of the health professions and the Department of Health and Human Services to update the PREP Act. Faculty, staff and students at some AAVMC member institutions are assisting with the effort or providing support through programs such as VaccineCorps.
President Releases His “Skinny” Budget Request
On April 9, the Biden Administration submitted its high-level budget request for FY 2022. The so-called “skinny” budget (since it does not include detailed tables laying out specific programs) calls for a $3.8 billion increase for the Department of Agriculture, including expanded funding for USDA Research and Education Programs. The budget also requests $6.5 billion at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create the Advanced Research Projects, Health (ARPA-H) to drive transformational research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimers and diabetes. The budget also proposes $51 billion overall for NIH, an increase of $9 billion over FY 2021.
Student Loan Taxes and Animal Research Funding
On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This sweeping legislative package, adding up to about $1.9 trillion, was aimed at relieving the ongoing impact of the pandemic. There were several provisions of interest to AAVMC, but among them two were of particular note. The first provision allowed a tax exemption for canceled student loan debt. Before passage, student loan debt that was forgiven at the end of an income based repayment plan was fully taxable as income. The new law eliminates the tax burden for loans that are forgiven between 2021 and 2025, when the provision either ends or is reinstated by Congress. The second provision provides $300 million for “animal health monitoring and surveillance.” While it is unclear exactly how this will be divided, we expect that a large portion of that will go to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), a longtime AAVMC priority. 
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act Reintroduced
On April 12, HR 2447 was introduced in the current Congress. Under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, participants are currently provided up to $75,000 of debt forgiveness for serving 3 years in USDA designated veterinary shortage areas. This legislation would make that loan forgiveness tax free, as these types of programs currently are in most of the other health professions. This has long been a priority of AAVMC.
NIAMREE Presents Annual Conference
AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe and AAVMC Governmental Affairs Director Kevin Cain each made presentations during the annual conference of the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NOAMRRE). Held virtually April 20-21, the meeting was themed “Connecting People, Resources, and Ideas to Accelerate and Synergize efforts against antimicrobial Disease” and focused on advocacy, research, collaboration and education. Maccabe joined former AAVMC President, educator and current Vice-Chair of the President’s Advisory Council for Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Dr. Lonnie King in a presentation called “Learning Objectives and Methods for One Health.” Maccabe and King are members of the NIAMREE Leadership Council. Cain joined other government relations professionals on “Advocating for AMR and One Health Approach.” NIAMREE was created as the result of a major AAVMC/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) initiative. A link to the conference can be found here: https://www.niamrre.org/event/niamrre-annual-conference/
COHA and AAVMC Collaborating with Agencies on One Health Language
The Clinical and Translational Award One Health Alliance (COHA), through its legislative subcommittee, has been working with AAVMC to follow up on the One Health language that was included in the year end omnibus package in 2020. There were several pieces of language that required One Health reports from various federal agencies. COHA and AAVMC retained a consulting group which has been meeting with agencies such as CDC, USDA, the National Park Service and others. This is an effort to assist with the language of the reports and to show the agencies the importance of the veterinary profession as it relates to One Health policies going forward.
AAVMC, Other Higher Ed Associations Take Stand on Voting Rights
The AAVMC joined almost 50 other major higher education associations in signing a public statement authored by the American Council on Education which calls for the expansion, not the restriction of voting rights in society. The letter outlines the special role colleges and universities play in a democracy and past efforts to expand voting rights and decries current efforts underway in some areas of the country that could stifle voter participation. One excerpt: “Exercising the right to vote should not be controversial or challenging. The right to vote defines us as a nation. We call on lawmakers to take action to ensure that civic participation in America continues to move forward, not backward, and that the United States has the most inclusive and equitable democracy in the world.”
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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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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