House Republicans Wage Culture War against Gas Stoves — and Some Democrats Fall for It.
Republicans have landed on their new culture war issue to fight environmental legislation: gas stoves. Never mind that few of their constituents even still have gas stoves, of course. It’s the new cause celebre to complain about “big government” run amuk. And, of course, the environmental policy — culture war intersection is always a way to help Big Business backers.
On Tuesday, the US House voted 248 to 180 to pass the Gas Stoves Protection and Freedom Act, which would prohibit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from using federal funds to regulate any gas stove as a banned hazardous product or issue or enforce a product safety standard that prohibits the use or sale of any gas stoves or substantially increases their price.
At best, this bill is a solution in search of a problem, as the Biden administration is not imminently banning gas stoves. However, more seriously, it harms the CPSC’s ability to do its actual job of protecting consumers. Last year, the CPSC issued a recall on a type of gas stove that posed a serious of injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning, and studies have shown correlations between gas stoves and higher risks of childhood asthma and reduced lung function. A recent study compared the impact of gas stoves to secondhand smoke. The CPSC should be able to consult experts on the best way to move forward and do what’s right for public health. Republican Congresspeople, and the Democrats that fall for their culture war idiocy, would rather ignore reality.
29 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it:
The House also passed an amendment from Lauren Boebert (CO-03) to expand the prohibition on federal funding to include regulations that would result in the unavailability in the United States of any type of product based on the type of fuel the product consumes — a wildly broad prohibition.
It passed 222 to 210. Joining Republicans in voting for it were Colin Allred (TX-32), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Don Davis (NC-01), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Greg Landsman (OH-01), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03). Don Bacon (NE-02), Nancy Mace (SC-01), and Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) joined Democrats in voting against it.
Continuing this waste of time, on Wednesday, the US House voted to prevent the Department of Energy (DOE) from finalizing energy efficiency standards for new gas and electric stoves and cooktops and to limit DOE’s ability to finalize any similar rule. That’s right: a majority of representatives are fighting against energy efficiency, one of the most basic climate measures possible.
These new energy conservation standards are Congressionally mandated. Delays by the Trump administration led to a multi-state lawsuit and ultimately a consent decree requiring DOE to finalize new efficiency standards for cooktops for January 2024. And they will benefit consumers and the environment. These standards are projected to save consumers up to $1.7 billion and avoid about 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years of sales.
Nonetheless, the bill passed 241 to 189, with 29 Democrats voting for it. Here are the 29:
The House also rejected two Democratic amendments to limit the damage of the bill.
Frank Pallone (NJ-06)’s amendment to strike provisions in the bill that would significantly limit future DOE rulemaking authority failed 209 to 225. Three Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it: Greg Landsman (OH-01), Jared Golden (ME-02), and Susie Lee (NV-03).
And Jim McGovern (MA-02)’s amendment to prevent parts of the bill from going into effect unless and until the Secretary of Energy certifies that the provisions of the section would not adversely affect the energy security of the US failed 207 to 224. Three Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it: Jared Golden (ME-02), Greg Landsman (OH-01), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03).
The House passed two other bills in a weeklong assault on the ability of the federal government to pass regulations in the public interest.
The REINS Act would hobble federal rule-making for the environment, public health, and workplace safety by requiring congressional approval of any regulation with a financial impact of $100 million or more (deemed “major rules”). This would allow moneyed interests, who also have outsize influence over rulemaking due to a revolving door, even more power to block regulations that serve the public interest.
It passed 221 to 210, with Jared Golden (ME-02) voting with Republicans.
Making a bad bill worse, the House voted narrowly 219 to 217 to expand the definition of “major rule” to include any rule likely to result in an increase in mandatory vaccinations. Again, Jared Golden voted yes with Republicans. Don Bacon (NE-02) Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Michael Lawler (NY-17), Zach Nunn (IA-03), and Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) voted no with Democrats. That this passed shows how much anti-vaccine conspiracy theories have taken over the Republican Party.
Fortunately, however, two other Republican amendments failed. An amendment to expand the definition of “major rule” to include any rule that references one of President Biden’s major diversity, equity, and inclusion executive orders narrowly failed 217 to 219. Don Bacon (NE-02) Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Michael Lawler (NY-17), Zach Nunn (IA-03), and Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) voted no with Democrats.
And Republican amendment to expand the definition of “major rule” to include any rule likely to result in increased access to abortion, abortion-related services, or abortion-related travel failed 211 to 223. Don Bacon (NE-02), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), John Duarte (CA-13), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Thomas Kean (NJ-07), Michael Lawler (NY-17), Nicolas LaLota (NY-01), Nancy Mace (SC-01), and Marcus Molinaro (NY-19) voted no with Democrats.
A Republican amendment to lower the threshold for designation as a “major rule” to $50 million also failed 211 to 223. Don Bacon (NE-02), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Carlos Gimenez (FL-28), Jenniffer González-Colón (PR), Michael Lawler (NY-17), Nicolas LaLota (NY-01), Michael McCaul (TX-10), and Zach Nunn (IA-03) voted no with Democrats.
But amendments to blunt the damage of the bill similarly failed. An amendment to allow Executive Branch rules to go into effect if either House of Congress does not vote on passage of a joint resolution within 70 legislative days failed 213 to 221, with Fitzpatrick joining Democrats in favor. Likewise, an amendment to delay the bill a year and require a study before it can be implemented failed 207 to 225, with Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Gabe Vasquez (NM-02) voting no with Republicans.
Also as a part of the weeklong assault on federal regulatory agencies, the House passed the the “Separation of Powers Restoration Act,” which would prevent judges from granting deference to agencies’ decision-making, encouraging conservative activist judges to legislate from the bench and creating more opportunities for corporate interests to rig the regulatory process in their favor. It passed on a mostly party line vote of 220 to 211, with Henry Cuellar (TX-28) voting yes with Republicans and Matt Gaetz (FL-01) voting no with Democrats.