In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) said of the inspiration for his bill:
“[It] addresses the Sixth Circuit’s holding in National Cotton Council v. EPA and returns the pesticide regulations to the status quo, before the Court became involved. EPA has estimated that approximately 365,000 pesticide users, including state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, farmers, ranchers, forest managers, scientists, and even every day citizens, that perform some 5.6 million pesticide applications annually would be affected by the Court’s ruling. H.R. 897 will insure that duplicative and harmful regulations will not stand in the way of effectively protecting our nation’s agriculture production, natural resources, and public health.”
That was back when this bill was called the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. Now, with it's new name — the Zika Vector Control Act — the bill aims to focus pesticide use (and loosened regulations on discharges) in the fight against the growing threat of the Zika virus.
On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global public health emergency.
One of the scary parts of the virus is how little we know, including even the number of cases and degree to which it has spread. It has been linked to a few cases of a rare paralysis disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. On February 2, 2016, experts were surprised by the first confirmed case of the virus spreading directly from person to person through sexual contact (instead of via mosquito) in Dallas, TX.