August 01, 2012

 
EXECUTIVE BOARD

 Calling on Capitol Hill

​AVMA board goes to D.C. for meeting, legislative visits

 

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Leaders of the AVMA meet with Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, former U.S.
secretary of agriculture, in early June during the AVMA Executive Board’s trip to
Washington, D.C.
Photos by Dr. Mark Lutschaunig
 
Posted July 18, 2012
 
 
The AVMA Executive Board traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to hold its June meeting and advocate for the profession on Capitol Hill.
 
During the June 7-9 meeting in Alexandria, Va., the board took a variety of noteworthy actions. Among them was approval of a recommendation from the AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee to hold an invitation-only forum during the AVMA Annual Convention on the subject of ensuring that new veterinarians are successful in the workforce.
 
Other board actions included approval of a plan for soliciting input on policy from AVMA members, revision of a policy on ownership of wild animals, creation of a new policy on release of wild animals and exotic pets from captivity, and establishment of a task force to determine the best ways to evaluate the quality and direction of the American Journal of Veterinary Research (see stories on pages 291-292). The board also approved a position on soring of gaited show horses (see page 296).
 
The visit to Capitol Hill began with a lunch reception where the board mingled with Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, the only veterinarian in Congress, and half a dozen other members of Congress.
“The luncheon reception gave the Executive Board the opportunity to meet with some of our key congressional champions,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. “The Executive Board discussed the Association’s high-priority issues and thanked the members of Congress for their support.”
 
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Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, the only veterinarian in Congress, chats with Dr. John H. de Jong (at right), a member of the AVMA Executive Board, during a lunch reception where the board mingled with members of Congress.
 
Following the reception, the board members visited the offices of their legislators. A group of AVMA leaders also met with Republican Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, former U.S. secretary of agriculture.
 
“There was a general feeling that we were successful in meeting with legislators, with advancing our agenda, with enlightening some of the members of Congress as to some of the issues that we are concerned about,” said Dr. John H. de Jong, District I representative on the board and chair of the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee.
 
Along with other issues, board members spoke with legislators and legislators’ staff about the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 1406). The AVMA is actively pursuing defeat of the legislation, which would mandate that veterinarians write prescriptions and provide written notification to clients of the option to fill prescriptions at an off-site pharmacy. 
 
“There was a general feeling that we were successful in meeting with legislators, with advancing our agenda, with enlightening some of the members of Congress as to some of the issues that we are concerned about.”
 
Dr. John H. de Jong, a member of the AVMA Executive Board and chair of the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
During the board meeting, members also approved 25 additions to the AVMA legislative agenda. Among the additions, the AVMA is supporting a bill to establish the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (S. 2274). The public-private partnership would raise funds for agricultural research.
 
The AVMA is backing the Help Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs Act (H.R. 4032), which would make permanent an increase in the tax deduction for business startup expenditures.
 
The AVMA took a position of nonsupport for legislation to allow interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption (H.R. 1830/S. 1955).