AVMA praises signed omnibus spending bill

“Our ability to protect funding for key areas is a significant victory for the veterinary community, especially considering the tough budget environment”

The recent bipartisan $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law on May 5 is a win for veterinarians, but the funds earmarked for everything from border security to defense to national parks is good only through September 30.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which counts more than 89,000 U.S. veterinarians working in private and corporate practices, for the government, military, industry and academia among its members, is pleased with the infusion of tax dollars benefitting programs important to AVMA members, the veterinary community in general, the public and animals everywhere.

“Our work paid off,” said the AVMA in a statement. “Congress passed a spending bill that maintains and even increases funding for many programs related to veterinary priorities, including animal health and welfare, agricultural research, biomedical research, antimicrobial use and combating resistance, and animal health laboratories. Our ability to protect funding for these key areas is a significant victory for the veterinary community, especially considering the tough budget environment.”

2017 spending bill highlights as they relate to veterinary medicine include:

  • $1.5 million in increases for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, enabling up to 15 additional awards to be given out this year
  • National Animal Health Laboratory Network to receive a $1.3 million more than 2016
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) gets an additional $52 million, with about half going toward emergency preparedness and response
  • APHIS’ divisions: Animal Health and Technical Services, National Veterinary Stockpile, Equine, Cervid and Small Ruminant Health, Veterinary Diagnostics Zoonotic Disease Management, which monitors the National Animal Health Monitoring System, and Animal Welfare Act enforcement all received increases
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Institute and Agricultural Research Service saw funding bumps of $25 million and $27 million, respectively
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service received an increase of $12 million from fiscal 2016
  • National Institutes of Health received a $2 billion increase, with a jump in funding of $50 million for its Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria initiative.

The AVMA admitted the latest funding round is but a short-term victory and that members in Congress already are looking past the newly signed law to 2018.

“We’re already back to work advancing veterinary priorities,” wrote the AVMA in its statement. “We’re in frequent communication with congressional offices on these issues, and we’ve added our voice to several coalitions to amplify our efforts.”

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