(Bloomberg) -- Republican attempts to pass legislation to preemptively block future attempts to restrict gas stoves fizzled on Tuesday after a revolt by the party’s conservative members successfully blocked debate on a bill from even beginning.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus voted against allowing debate of the measure in protest of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other leadership for their handling of the debt limit which was negotiated with the White House. A vote on the normally-routine rule allowing the legislation to proceed to the floor failed by a vote of 220-206.
“This is about making sure McCarthy and moderate Republicans don’t team up with moderate Democrats,” House Freedom Caucus member Representative Ken Buck told reporters.
The bill, the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, would prohibit the independent Consumer Product Safety Commission from using federal funds to ban gas stoves as hazardous products. A second bill, the Save Our Stoves Act, slated for Wednesday, would bar the Energy Department from finalizing a proposed rule setting efficiency standards for the appliances.
“Americans should be the ones deciding what they use in their kitchen, not out-of-touch government bureaucrats,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “House Republicans will always defend your freedoms and fight to keep big government out of your home.”
The White House, in a statement, said it strongly opposes both bills, but, notably, stopped short of issuing a veto threat.
“The Administration is committed to ensuring that Americans have access to safe and efficient products and can make smart consumer choices based on independent safety information and data-driven efficiency standards that save families money,” the White House said.
While the Biden administration doesn’t have plans to ban gas stoves, Republicans have seized on the issue since the CPSC’s Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg in January that he would consider it as part of efforts to address health and environmental emission concerns, painting Democrats as the party of government overreach.
Gas stoves, which are used in about 40% of homes in the US, emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other health conditions, according to multiple studies.
“Republicans are deliberately misleading the American people about gas stoves,” Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, said. “Their political stunts are designed to scare consumers while protecting their fossil fuel friends and endangering children.”
(Updates with floor action in first paragraph.)
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