House speaker calls for relaxed EPA regulations to combat Zika-carrying mosquitoes

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently took to Twitter, calling for the removal of "onerous" pesticide regulations in order to strengthen mosquito control and protect Americans from the Zika virus.

In a statement, Speaker Ryan said, "Leave it to Obama's [Environmental Protection Agency] to make a bad situation worse. Onerous new EPA regulations have completely hamstrung mosquito control activities."

Speaker Ryan's call to eliminate the purportedly cumbersome pesticide regulations is in keeping with the funding bill passed in the House that would use money from other programs to provide federal health officials with $622.1 million to combat the spread of the virus. Prior to the bill's passage in the House, President Barack Obama called for $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funds and the Republican-led Senate reached bipartisan compromise on a funding package that would allocate $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding.

The White House issued a statement of opposition to the House bill, designating it as a Zika bill in name only and asserting that the bill is a rebranding of old legislation designed to remove Clean Water Act protections. In reference to mosquito control, the statement reads, "Most mosquito control districts and federal and state agencies already have authority under the Pesticide General Permit to apply mosquitocides as needed to respond to Zika virus concerns and do not require any additional authorization under the Permit."

Regarding the partisan politics surrounding Zika, Thomas R. Frieden, MD, director of the CDC, recently told The New York Times, "This is no way to fight an epidemic...there is a narrow window of opportunity here and it's closing. Every day that passes makes it harder to stop Zika."

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Zika myths run rampant on social media platforms, scientists find 
What goes into the decision to make a Zika vaccine? 
Zika concerns boost total online dollar sales for bug spray 323% from 2015

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