June 10, 2014

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has hired Capitol Counsel, a top-tier D.C. government affairs firm, to help push Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would make the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) tax exempt. The organizations will work together to educate policymakers on the importance of including the VMLRP Enhancement Act (S. 553/H.R. 1125) in any tax reform or tax extenders legislation that Congress aims to pass by the end of the year.

Public health and livestock veterinarians who are selected to work in rural and underserved communities across the nation, Puerto Rico and on U.S. federal lands as part of a national program are given $25,000 annually to help pay off their student loan debt. If the funds allotted by Congress to pay for that program were tax exempt, roughly 50 more veterinarians could have been added to the 205 veterinarians who served our nation’s communities since 2010.

“Our nation’s ranchers and farmers depend on veterinarians for the routine care of their livestock and for protecting our food supply, but unfortunately, communities all across the country continue to lack access to the vital veterinary services they need,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, AVMA’s director of governmental relations. “Congress has a real opportunity this year to pass a bill that will make the VMLRP tax exempt, allowing more veterinarians to serve in shortage areas around the country.”