- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says a proposal to cut $500 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget could hurt the department’s efforts to fight bird flu - and that could mean even higher prices for eggs.

Schumer says the average price of eggs is up nearly 50 percent this year because of bird flu.

Nationwide, about 10 percent of all laying hens have been infected.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, says a congressional proposal to cut $500 million from a USDA fund will starve the department of the money it needs to combat the epidemic.

Schumer is holding a news conference Sunday to urge Congress to stop the proposed cuts.

He says the funds should be used to help pay for projects like developing a vaccine against the flu.

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