The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a series of bills that include key funding victories for veterinary medicine. The House’s action officially kicks off the congressional process of allocating funding to federal programs for the 2021 fiscal year.
The House bills contain several wins for the veterinary profession:
- $1 million increase to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for a total of $9 million
- Continued funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) at $3 million and the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) at $2.5 million
- Funding increase for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC)
- $3 million to support additional hires at the Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics
- Increased funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture research agencies, including the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and funding to support the science program at the soon-to-be-completed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)
- Funding boost for APHIS Animal Welfare and APHIS Horse Protection programs
The bills also include language encouraging a coordinated, One Health approach to disease outbreaks, mirroring the intent of the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act of 2019 (S.1903/H.R. 3771), a bill championed by AVMA.
All 12 spending bills Congress needs to pass for the 2021 fiscal year are expected to be approved by the House before the August recess. However, the Senate has yet to announce plans to consider 2021 spending.
The congressional recess is fast approaching, and there will be a limited window for the House and Senate to agree on funding levels before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. This makes it increasingly likely that a continuing resolution, or funding extension, will be needed to avoid a government shutdown. If that happens, the final 2021 funding levels are unlikely to be determined until after the November election.
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