Today’s newsletter contains an item about legislation to address the shortage of veterinarians in rural communities. In 2003, Congress passed the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program that provided loan repayment support for veterinarians practicing in qualified rural areas. However, evolution of the federal tax withholding laws now substantially limits the benefits actually received by beneficiaries.
To remedy this, bills have been introduced in both the Senate and the House to create exemptions for payments received under this program. The bills have bipartisan support in both chambers. Correcting this unintended effect should, in normal times, be a simple fix. However, as we again face a shutdown of the government (at least at the time I write this) due to legislative gridlock, it would be a real disappointment to see this initiative falter due to the logjam caused by the current posturing. Let’s hope that our Congress can get back to its intended work that benefits the citizens.
Twenty years ago, when the original bill was passed to support veterinarians in rural areas, it was a good idea. Today, passing a fix for the technical difficulties with that bill is still a good idea. Encourage your Senators and Representatives to support this worthwhile legislation even in this time of crisis; it’s the right thing to do.