If the United States sees a Zika virus crisis, blame Democrats—at least, that was the savvy political message Republicans hoped to send yesterday afternoon.

Using special fast-track procedures, House Republicans sought to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from mandating permits before landowners could spray pesticides into mosquito-attracting bodies of water. Democratic opposition did the measure in, failing 262-159, the Hill reports.

It was a savvy political move. The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to the devastating birth defect microcephaly. 

Democrats’ solution to Zika, on the other hand, has been more public-sector spending, which is less than palatable to many taxpayers. President Obama has sought as much as $1.9 billion in funding to combat Zika.

Furthermore, as IWF has reported earlier, many pesticides that have proven highly effective in warding off mosquitoes with little impact on the environment or public health.

While this particular measure perished, Republicans should keep pushing to deregulate pesticides, basing policy on firm science instead of alarmism.