The avian flu outbreak that has devastated poultry and egg operations in the Midwest has united the Obama Administration and GOP-controlled Congress in an effort to extend aid to hard-hit producers. After the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave permission to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak to provide emergency assistance to affected poultry and egg producers, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) quickly endorsed the move.

“I applaud OMB for recognizing the urgency and gravity of this situation,” said Roberts. “I’m glad these producers who suffered significant losses will get the assistance they need to help them move forward and begin rebuilding. I also applaud poultry and egg producers for proactively doing everything within their power to protect the health of their flocks.”

The virus has spread to at least 14 states, affecting more than 100 farms. USDA says producers have killed 15 million birds to prevent the virus from spreading. The crisis has united the Republicans and Democrats, with both the majority and minority of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees signing a letter to OMB urging the agency to “not impede USDA’s immediate response to this emergency.”