Summer 2020
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Hinder Veterinary Medical Support
 The AAVMC is working with the AVMA and Veterinary Medicine Caucus Co-Chair Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) on legislative language to be included in the next coronavirus relief package. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created “workarounds” that allow animal laboratories run by veterinarians to perform human testing, however, we do not believe this is a viable, long-term solution.

Our university-based laboratories have stepped up during the COVID pandemic to provide much needed testing capacity, but have encountered regulatory and procedural challenges . The AAVMC believes this should have been an easier, more streamlined process. We are working with Congress and organizational partners to cut “red tape” and create more efficient processes for the next pandemic.
Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Action
The House of Representatives began advancing many of the FY 2021 appropriations bills in mid-July, including funding for NIH, AFRI and many of our other key programs. The House bills would fund NIH at $47 billion, a 13 percent increase over FY 2021. Appropriators designated $5 billion of that as emergency funding, in order to avoid the tight budget caps in place for this year. AFRI would receive $435 million, a $10 million increase over FY 2020. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) would get $9 million, an increase of $1 million. The Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) would be level funded at $3 million.

The AAVMC was pleased to see some of these significant increases in the House, especially during very tight budget times, however the Senate has been much slower in moving appropriations bills. We are continuing to work with the Senate to make sure they at least match the House numbers.
Gene Editing Task Force Convenes First Meeting
The first meeting of the Task Force on Gene Editing in Food Animals was held July 16. A joint effort between AAVMC and the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU), the meeting featured opening comments and perspectives from all of its members about the timeliness and importance of the issue. The Task Force will meet several more times this year with the goal of producing a set of recommendations for the next Congress and Administration. Task force members also discussed how they were going to organize and approach the work ahead and what their final product would look like.
AAVMC, Others Successfully Oppose Recent Administration Action Concerning International Students
The AAVMC was one of many organizations signed on to a Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that opposed controversial DHS action taken July 6 regarding international students and pandemic altered educational programs. Following a groundswell of protest, DHS reversed the policy on July 14. DHS’s new policy would have forced non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visa holders to leave the country if their educational programs were moved to online status as a result of the pandemic. That policy could have affected about one million students and challenged college and university efforts to deliver educational programs while protecting public health. FASHP comprises 18 associations and represents a health professions education community that includes 7,429 programs, institutions, hospitals, and health systems, and more than 1.3 million students, faculty, clinicians, administrators, residents, and researchers. AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe is the current FASHP president.
Additional Funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network
The House passed the HEROES Act (HR 6800) several weeks ago. That legislation contained an additional $300 million in support for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). NAHLN lab budgets have been strained as they have been switched over to human COVID testing. Founded in 2002, NAHLN is a partnership of federal, state and university laboratories that help protect animal health, public health, and food security through disease surveillance and detection.

This past week, Senator Inhofe (R-OK), along with others, introduced S 4156, which includes $300 million in funding for animal health infrastructure that supports animal disease preparedness and surveillance. This is the same provision as the HEROES Act that passed the House last month and is considered a huge win for the one health infrastructure preparedness, diagnostics and surveillance against animal disease outbreaks. The statement on this legislation can be found here.

We are hopeful that this legislation can be included in the Senate COVID relief bill, so that we can match the House funding provision.
Funding and Report Language Related to NIAMRRE
Several years ago, AAVMC and APLU jointly issued a white paper on Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria in Agriculture. One of the recommendations from this report was the creation of the National Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education , which is based at Iowa State University and involves a coalition of other universities and organizations. In mid-July, the House of Representatives released its Ag Appropriations bill for FY 2021. Included in that bill was this language:

Antimicrobial Resistance—The Committee provides $2,000,000 and directs APHIS to
work with a public-private partnership focused on combating the global threat of antimicrobial resistance across humans, animals, and the environment to explore the development of an antimicrobial resistance dashboard tool for livestock management, research, risk, and stewardship. As part of this work, APHIS must explore the feasibility of developing an antimicrobial resistance dashboard tool that ensures full compliance with the confidentiality protections of the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act. The dashboard should securely track the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens in livestock production systems, validate systematic genetic and management strategies to reduce antibiotic use, and build understanding of relationships between livestock genetics, the environment, management practices, and the dynamics and frequencies of pathogen emergence in microbial populations.

We believe that NIAMRRE is the only real fit for this funding, and are working to see that similar language is placed in the Senate bill.
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 or 202-371-9195 (ext. 117) with any comments, questions and suggestions about our program.
AAVMC Newsletters

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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