Research Issues

Issue Summaries for the 113th Congress

 
S. 859, Animal and Public Health Protection Act
This provision will provide the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) with the ability to conduct activities related to detecting and responding to animal health threats. The bill authorizes $15 million for the NAHLN. The provision also authorizes resources to tackle the NAHLN’s genuine need to enhance its infrastructure, personnel, information technology, and quality assurance. A robust NAHLN will help control any potential disease outbreaks, limit the spread of diseases to other animals and, as a result, limit the diseases’ impact on public health, animal suffering, interruption of food supply, and the financial health of livestock and related industries.
 
Status: The Farm Bill conference report (H.R. 2642, The Agricultural Act of 2014) includes this provision. The House passed H.R. 2642 on Jan. 29, 2014, and the Senate passed the bill on Feb. 4, 2014.

Before the Farm Bill conference report, the Senate included the provision in its Farm Bill (S. 954), which passed on June 10, 2013.
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Gina Luke

 
Senate Resolution to recognize the importance of biosecurity and agro-defense
This resolution reminds lawmakers that addressing critical vulnerabilities in the nation’s food supply and agriculture economy remains a top priority. Congress needs to consider measures to improve biosecurity and protect plant and animal health, including continuing the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). The NBAF will bring the nation’s animal disease diagnostic and research capabilities into the 21st century. By constructing this new, state-of-the-art, high-containment facility, researchers will be better equipped to study foreign animals and emerging and zoonotic diseases that threaten U.S. animal agriculture and public health. When built, the NBAF will be the first lab in the United States to have a bio-safety level 4 containment to conduct research on diseases that could greatly impact large animals.
 
Status: The resolution has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
 
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Gina Luke
 

 
Foundation for Food and Agriculture
The Senate Farm Bill (S. 954) included a provision that would establish a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). It directs the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to establish the FFAR to support the USDA’s agricultural research on key problems of national and international significance, and to foster collaboration with agricultural researchers from the federal government, institutions of higher education, industry, and nonprofit organizations. The bill directs the foundation to: award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, scientists and entities to advance the foundation’s goals; identify and coordinate existing and proposed federal research and development programs relating to the foundation’s purposes; identify unmet and emerging agricultural research needs; facilitate technology transfer and information release to the agricultural research community; and promote the development of the next generation of agricultural research scientists.
 
Status: The Farm Bill conference report (H.R. 2642, The Agricultural Act of 2014) includes the provision. The House passed H.R. 2642 on Jan. 29, 2014, and the Senate passed it on Feb. 4, 2014.

Before the Farm Bill conference report, the Senate included the FFAR provision in its Farm Bill (S.954), which passed on June 10, 2013.
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Gina Luke
 

 
S.1552, Next Generation Research Act
This legislation would establish the Next Generation of Research Initiative within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The initiative would be responsible for coordinating all of NIH’s policies and programs aimed at promoting and providing opportunities for new researchers.
 
Status: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced S. 1552 on Sept. 26, 2013, and it was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
 
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Gina Luke
 

 
 
H.R. 2671/ S. 1280, Charitable Agriculture Research Act (CARA)
This legislation would recognize qualified agricultural research organizations as eligible for non-profit status [501(c)(3)] within the Internal Revenue Code. This classification will in turn result in an influx of philanthropic funds for agricultural research.

Status: U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.-22) introduced H.R. 2671 on July 11, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introducedS. 1280 on July 11, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Gina Luke