[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 117, 108th Congress, 1st Session]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

117 STAT. 2014

Public Law 108-161
108th Congress

An Act

To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a loan repayment
program regarding the provision of veterinary services in shortage
situations, and for other purposes. [NOTE: Dec. 6, 2003 -  [H.R.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, [NOTE: National
Veterinary Medical Service Act.]

SECTION 1. [NOTE: 7 USC 3101 note.] SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``National Veterinary Medical Service


The National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy
Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) is amended by inserting after
section 1415 the following new section:


``(a) Program.--
``(1) Service [NOTE: Contracts.] in shortage situations.--
The Secretary shall carry out a program of entering into
agreements with veterinarians under which the veterinarians
agree to provide, for a period of time as determined by the
Secretary and specified in the agreement, veterinary services in
veterinarian shortage situations. For each year of such service
under an agreement under this paragraph, the Secretary shall pay
an amount, as determined by the Secretary and specified in the
agreement, of the principal and interest of qualifying
educational loans of the veterinarians.
``(2) Service to federal government in emergency
``(A) In general.--The Secretary may enter into
agreements of 1 year duration with veterinarians who
have agreements pursuant to paragraph (1) for such
veterinarians to provide services to the Federal
Government in emergency situations, as determined by the
Secretary, under terms and conditions specified in the
agreement. Pursuant to an agreement under this
paragraph, the Secretary shall pay an amount, in
addition to the amount paid pursuant to the agreement in
paragraph (1), as determined by the Secretary and
specified in the agreement, of the principal and
interest of qualifying educational loans of the
``(B) Requirements.--Agreements entered into under
this paragraph shall include the following:

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117 STAT. 2015

``(i) A veterinarian shall not be required to
serve more than 60 working days per year of the
``(ii) A veterinarian who provides service
pursuant to the agreement shall receive a salary
commensurate with the duties and shall be
reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses as
appropriate for the duration of the service.

``(b) Determination of Veterinarian Shortage Situations.--In
determining `veterinarian shortage situations' the Secretary may
consider the following:
``(1) Urban or rural areas that the Secretary determines
have a shortage of veterinarians.
``(2) Areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary
determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as public
health, epidemiology, and food safety.
``(3) Areas of veterinary need in the Federal Government.
``(4) Other factors that the Secretary considers to be

``(c) Administration.--
``(1) Authority.--The Secretary may carry out this program
directly or enter into agreements with another Federal agency or
other service provider to assist in the administration of this
``(2) Breach remedies.--
``(A) In general.--Agreements with program
participants shall provide remedies for any breach of an
agreement by a participant, including repayment or
partial repayment of financial assistance received, with
``(B) Amounts recovered.--Funds recovered under this
subsection shall be credited to the account available to
carry out this section and shall remain available until
``(3) Waiver.--The Secretary may grant a waiver of the
repayment obligation for breach of contract in the event of
extreme hardship or extreme need, as determined by the
``(4) Amount.--The [NOTE: Regulations.] Secretary shall
develop regulations to determine the amount of loan repayment
for a year of service by a veterinarian. In making the
determination, the Secretary shall consider the extent to which
such determination--
``(A) affects the ability of the Secretary to
maximize the number of agreements that can be provided
under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
from the amounts appropriated for such agreements; and
``(B) provides an incentive to serve in veterinary
service shortage areas with the greatest need.
``(5) Qualifying educational loans.--Loan repayments
provided under this section may consist of payments on behalf of
participating individuals of the principal and interest on
government and commercial loans received by the individual for
attendance of the individual at an accredited college of
veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of
Veterinary Medicine or the equivalent, which loans were made
``(A) tuition expenses;
``(B) all other reasonable educational expenses,
including fees, books, and laboratory expenses, incurred
by the individual; or

[[Page 2016]]
117 STAT. 2016

``(C) reasonable living expenses as determined by
the Secretary.
``(6) Repayment schedule.--The Secretary may enter into an
agreement with the holder of any loan for which payments are
made under this section to establish a schedule for the making
of such payments.
``(7) Tax liability.--In addition to educational loan
repayments, the Secretary shall make such additional payments to
participants as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for
the purpose of providing reimbursements to participants for
individual tax liability resulting from participation in this

``(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be
appropriated for carrying out this section such sums as may be necessary
and such sums shall remain available to the Secretary for the purposes
of this section until expended.''.

Approved December 6, 2003.


Nov. 17, considered and passed House.
Nov. 24, considered and passed Senate.