Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said they are leading a bipartisan push for more funding to help address the nation’s highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak.
“HPAI has been detected in 32 states across the country and has killed over 36 million birds. Although the virus poses minimal risk to human health, it has serious implications for U.S. poultry producers, rural communities, and our agricultural economy,” the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders.
The request comes as the committee prepares for the fiscal year 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
In their letter, Grassley and Klobuchar urged the committee to prioritize funding for USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service’s health program, as confirmed HPAI cases increase and further spread is likely. “These funds are critical to continue HPAI response measures,” they said.
President Biden’s budget request for the APHIS avian health program was $65 million for fiscal year 2023, which reflects a small increase from the enacted level of $63 million in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.
In addition to Grassley and Klobuchar, the letter was also signed by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
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