Grassley leads bipartisan effort to push for high prioritization of HPAI outbreak

Chuck Grassley Weekly Address 3From Press Release


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today led a bipartisan group of senators pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure the avian flu outbreak receives the highest prioritization for the department.  In a letter, Grassley and 14 other senators pressed leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service —which is responsible for helping state governments respond to the spread of avian flu—is a very high priority and receives necessary funding. Avian flu has so far impacted more than 20 million birds across 11 counties in Iowa.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and state and local agencies, has responded quickly to the avian influenza outbreak,” the senators wrote. “Given the recent unforeseen increase in confirmed avian influenza cases and their rapid spread throughout the country since the President’s FY 2016 budget request was released, we urge the Subcommittee or the Committee to make funding for the APHIS avian health program a very high priority in order to continue these critical avian influenza response measures in the next fiscal year.”

Grassley last week sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, with the rest of the Iowa congressional delegation, urging him to provide any assistance possible under its statutory authority to help affected states combat the recent avian flu outbreak. Grassley’s office has been fielding calls from concerned Iowa growers about the flu and the impact on their flocks.