Joyce Amendment Allocating $15 Million For New CWD Study Clears House
Will Be Included In Larger Appropriations Package To Be Voted On Next Week
Washington, DC, June 20, 2019
Congressman John Joyce (PA-13) today brought to the House floor an amendment to direct $15 million within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) budget to be used for a federal study to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 3055) cleared the House by voice vote. Final passage of the broader spending package, which will include the $15 million for the study, will be voted on next week.
After the passage of his amendment, Congressman Joyce noted the perseverance that was required to advance the cause of CWD research at the federal level.
“While initial legislative efforts to fund a federal Chronic Wasting Disease Study stalled, the issue was too important to 13th District hunters for me to give up on,” said Congressman Joyce. “The passage of this amendment will get us one step closer to finding a cure to CWD, and I’m proud I was able to utilize my first appropriations process to get a huge win for our region. It is my hope that this amendment quickly becomes law so that the Pennsylvania Game Commission no longer needs to proceed with its plans to diminish our area’s deer population in the future.”
The Washington Post last week shined a national spotlight on Chronic Wasting Disease, highlighting the growing concern scientists have about the potential it has to spread to humans.
In February, Joyce cosponsored HR 837, which instructs the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to partner with the National Academies of Science to study and identify the ways CWD is transmitted between wild, captive and farmed deer. In March, the 13th District lawmaker put forward H.R. 2081, legislation that would authorize an additional $15 million in grant funding to states, institutions of higher education and other eligible entities that are invested in researching a cure for Chronic Wasting Disease.
ORIGIN OF THE ISSUE
The CWD issue became controversial when the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the launch of a pilot study, which aimed to enlist U.S. Department of Agriculture sharp shooters to eliminate thousands of deer in the region. The goal of the pilot study was to examine if lowering the deer population can control the spread of CWD, which has no known cure at this point. The study was halted due to the lack of permission the sharp shooters were able to gain to access the private land necessary in order to set up baiting stations that would help them eliminate the deer.
However, the Altoona Mirror reported that the sharpshooters may have to return next year to finish the study. The possibility of the continuation of the Gaming Commission’s study brought more complaints from hunters in the 13th District, prompting Joyce to first get involved.
In a March 25 Game Commission meeting, Commissioner Tim Layton claimed that the resistance the agency is facing from area hunters is a result of a “public relations” issue.
Joyce responded with a Facebook post writing, “The PA Game Commission is wrong. They don't have a public relations problem, they have a policy problem. Hunters in the 13th District want a CWD solution that doesn’t unnecessarily harm deer. We should be using science to address this issue and I will continue to work hard to secure federal funds to find a cure.”