by Addison Smith
The rift with within the Republican House Conference that shut down floor votes last week appears to have been resolved enough for the chamber to resume voting, with the Tuesday passage of a marquee conservative bill to stop Biden administration initiatives to further regulate gas-powered stoves.
The Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act passed 248-180, after failing to get a final vote last week because 11 conservative-leaning conference members – in a nearly unprecedented move – blocked a preliminary procedural vote, essentially over what they considered House GOP leadership’s mishandling of the debt-ceiling agreement with Democrat President Joe Biden.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met Monday with leaders of the conservative revolt and reportedly agreed to renegotiate the promises, or power-sharing agreement, he made with their caucus to help him win the post in January.
House Republicans also have another bill to protect the sale and use of gas stoves, the Save Our Gas Stoves Act, which is set for a vote later this week.
The bills were drafted after Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka in January called gas stoves a “hidden hazard” and implied they “can be banned” if the agency decides to do so.
“This bill prevents CPSC from banning the entire product category of gas stoves” but does not prevent the agency from “exploring or addressing safety hazards,” said sponsor North Dakota Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong.
He reiterated the argument throughout the hearing Tuesday, as House Democrats continued to argue GOP warnings of a complete gas stove ban are false or at least exaggerated.
“I don’t understand the energy and hysteria … about gas stoves,” Michigan Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky said. “No one is taking away your gas stove. … That is not the intention of this legislation.”
A day earlier, the Biden administration asked a federal judge to reverse a court ruling in April blocking natural gas hookups in buildings in Berkeley, California.
In February, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed energy standards on gas appliances that would reportedly render 50 percent of America’s gas stoves noncompliant.
New York became the first state in the nation to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings earlier this year.
Schakowsky said she owns and prefers a gas stove but that doesn’t mean she wants to prevent CPSC from “saving” Americans from or “alerting people about” the pollution-related potential health hazards.
On the argument such stoves are linked to childhood asthma and respiratory damage, Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie said federal agencies have “never identified” these concerns before, nor has the CPSC ever deemed the stoves a “significant” problem.
Roughly 40 percent of American households have gas stoves.
Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert attached an amendment to the bill passed Tuesday that she said “ensures the [CPSC] focuses on actual hazards with [stove] design rather than targeting fuel sources.”
“We have a crisis at our southern border. Americans are worried about being able to provide for their families,” she said. “Meanwhile, the Biden administration is focused on controlling the kind of stove Americans use in their homes.”
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