Congressman Young Addresses Forum On Bed Bugs
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young spoke this afternoon at the Congressional Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Forum, which he sponsored along with Congressman Butterfield (D-NC). The purpose of this event is to highlight the scope and magnitude of the bed bug resurgence and provide a unique opportunity to discuss current federal policies and initiatives of prevention and management. Earlier this session, Congressmen Young and Butterfield introduced H.R. 2248, the “Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act.” This legislation is aimed at providing additional resources to prevent and manage bed bug infestations at lodging facilities and public housing.
Congressman Young’s remarks as prepared:
“Representative Butterfield, attendees of the Congressional Bed Bug Forum, good afternoon. H.R. 2248, the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act, represents an important tool in the understanding and containment of this nation’s bed bug problem. The emergence of bed bug infestations across the United States represents not only a public safety concern, but a threat to each state’s already decreased tourism and commerce revenues. These pests do not discriminate when choosing homes; they are just as likely to infest a family-owned bed & breakfast as they are a five-star hotel.
“This bill would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to provide grants to help states inspect homes and hotels for bed bugs. It would allow states to use grants to examine everything from train stations to school rooms, while also educating pest management personnel on effective prevention and eradication techniques. The Secretary of Commerce, under provisions within H.R. 2248, would then report to Congress on the effectiveness of this program so that the taxpayer’s money is not wasted.
“My state and constituents have felt the impact of bed bug infestations, just as countless homes and hotels nationwide have. Last week, at Fairview Elementary School in Anchorage, reports of bed bugs in several classrooms caused the school to send many students home early while the affected areas were treated. This is not the first reported case of bed bugs in Alaska. No state has proved immune to this growing public health concern. Therefore, the purpose of this forum is to identity a workable strategy to combat this problem, to identify an appropriate federal and state response so that independent pest management companies do not take it upon themselves to use unapproved treatment techniques which may be hazardous to human health.
“A recent Rasmussen poll showed that nearly 20% of Americans have changed their travel plans to avoid certain public places they fear are likely to have bed bugs. Many states and localities depend on tourism revenue to fund worthwhile public projects for their community. With a nationwide tourism downturn, fear of bed bug infestations will only worsen the problem. It is time to have meaningful dialogue about this pressing issue. That is why I am encouraged to see so many of you here today.
“Thank you, again, to my colleague Congressman Butterfield, and to the forum’s participants and attendees.”