Federal debt reduction bill carries implications for veterinary education

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Sep 01, 2011

NATIONAL REPORT — The federal debt reduction bill that made headlines this summer has a trickle-down effect on veterinarians, with the elimination of an in-school interest subsidy on graduate and professional student loans.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says it is disappointed by the elimination, which will hurt student access to higher education.

"The AVMA certainly understands the need to limit federal spending and address the nation's growing debt," says Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, AVMA's director of governmental relations. "However, eliminating educational financing for graduate and professional students who rely on student loans to fund their education, such as veterinary school, will ensure higher education is out of reach for many."

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon), the lone DVM in Washington following the resignation of Republican Sen. John Ensign this past spring, voted against the debt bill.

"This vote was a charade," Schrader said in a prepared statement after the House vote. "Republican leaders brought a measure to the floor they knew would not pass for no other reason than to make a political point. It is irresponsible for House leaders to be playing political games when our nation is three days away from a possible default that would irreparably harm the full faith and credit of the United States. It's time for leaders from both parties to end the political brinkmanship and forge a comprehensive compromise that embodies the principles of the Gang of Six and Simpson-Bowles plans that have already won bipartisan support."