Congress reached a final compromise on the fourth COVID relief legislation (C4), and a spending package that will fund the federal government through fiscal year (FY) 2021. The AVMA applauds the passage of this legislation, which includes a fix for unfavorable IRS tax treatment of expenses paid with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, simplified PPP forgiveness applications for loans up to $150,000, $20 million for animal health infrastructure's role in the COVID-19 response, AVMA-led One Health report language, and funding for key federal programs important to veterinary medicine.
"The legislation reflects many of the AVMA's top priorities, for which we worked very closely with key legislators to ensure were included in the final agreement," said Dr. Douglas Kratt, AVMA President. "We are grateful to Congress and look forward to continuing to work with senators and representatives to advocate for policies, programs and funding that advance and protect the veterinary profession and support animal health and welfare."The COVID-19 relief legislation totals $900 billion and contains many of AVMA's top priorities that were aggressively advocated to Congress on behalf of the veterinary profession:
- Streamlined forgiveness applications for PPP loans up to $150,000
- Clarification that tax deductions are allowed for ordinary business expenses paid for with PPP loans that are forgiven $300 billion for the PPP
- Funding will allow a second round of forgivable loans for small businesses that experienced a 25% revenue decline
- Inclusion of small 501(c)(6) organizations that have 300 employees or fewer
- $20 million for animal health infrastructure to maintain and respond to animal disease prevention and response capacity
The AVMA was also pleased to see the passage of the FY 2021 government spending bill, which includes important provisions that support veterinary-related programs. During the year, AVMA's Advocacy team relentlessly lobbied both the House and Senate to ensure the inclusion of important funding levels for federal veterinary loan repayment programs, animal welfare enforcement, research, and shelter programs.FY 2021 funding legislation includes:
- AVMA-led report language directing federal agencies to coordinate One Health efforts
- $8.5 million for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP); $3 million for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP); and $2.5 million for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD).
- A $3.2 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics.
- A funding boost for the APHIS Animal Welfare Act enforcement and APHIS Horse Protection Act Enforcement.
- A funding increase for USDA research, including Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and the Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) research program at the soon-to-be-completed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
- Support for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)
- $2.5 million funding for the Protecting Animals with Shelter (PAWS) program.
About the AVMA
The AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, speaking for more than 97,000 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.
EquiManagement note: Make sure to listen to The Business of Practice podcast published on January 19, 2021, to learn more details about equine veterinarian-specific points from these pandemic legislative initiatives from Marsha Heinke, DVM, CPA, EA, CVPM.