AVMA praises agriculture, small business provisions in spending bill

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For immediate release: 12/19/2019

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) welcomes today's passage of a year-end spending bill by Congress. This legislation averts a government shutdown, provides important funding for veterinary programs that support animal agriculture, and includes the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act to expand retirement opportunities for small businesses.

"The passage of today's spending legislation is terrific news for veterinarians across the profession," said AVMA President Dr. John Howe. "We're excited to know that federal veterinarians won't have to work without pay due to a federal government shutdown and that critical animal agriculture and veterinary workforce programs will continue to receive the funding necessary to be effective."

The AVMA is particularly pleased to see the bill maintain $8 million and $3 million in funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and the Veterinary Services Grant Program respectively, both of which increase access to rural veterinary care.

The bill also provides support for the science program at the soon-to-be-completed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and increases important funding for veterinary diagnostics and veterinary biologics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

In addition to these important agricultural provisions, the AVMA is pleased to see Congress extend expired tax breaks and pass the SECURE Act, which will help expand retirement opportunities for veterinarians. This bipartisan provision allows for the establishment of multi-employer retirement plans, which would enable employers to band together to provide retirement offerings.

"Many veterinarians are small business owners or those who work at small practices, which means they often aren't able to access the types of retirement plans offered at larger companies," said Dr. Douglas Kratt, AVMA President-Elect. "The SECURE Act is an exciting step toward closing this gap and providing more robust retirement opportunities for veterinarians and other small business employees."

Passage of the SECURE Act will strengthen AVMA's efforts to provide retirement plans for veterinarians.

About the AVMA

The AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, speaking for more than 100,000 member veterinarians across the United States who care passionately about protecting animal health, animal welfare and human health. Informed by its members' unique scientific training and knowledge, the AVMA advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and support the crucial work of veterinarians nationwide.