House Republicans are turning up the heat on federal officials about gas stoves this week, taking up legislation aimed at preventing bans of the appliances.
The conference is set to consider two bills related to gas stoves: one that would prohibit the use of federal funds to ban the devices, and another that calls for blocking an Energy Department rule that institutes energy conservation standards for some consumer products — which Republicans claim would remove some gas stoves from stores.
The debate over gas stoves broke out last year when a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) floated new regulations on gas stoves. The CPSC chairman, however, later said the group was not looking to ban gas stoves.
The House this week is also slated to consider the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would bolster Congress’s authority over the federal rulemaking process.
On the Senate side, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is eyeing legislation related to competition with China, artificial intelligence, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and rail safety.
House GOP takes up gas stoves legislation
The House this week is scheduled to consider two bills related to gas stoves.
The first piece of legislation — titled the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act — calls for prohibiting the use of federal funds to ban gas stoves.
It would specifically bar any federal funds from being used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for regulating a gas stove “as a banned hazardous product,” or for enforcing consumer product safety standards or rules on gas stoves that would result in a ban on gas stoves in the U.S. or “substantially increase the average price of gas stoves in the United States.”
The second bill — dubbed the Save Our Gas Stoves Act — takes aim at an Energy Department rule that “prescribed energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including consumer conventional cooking products.”
The legislation seeks to bar the Energy secretary from finalizing, implementing or enforcing the proposed rule. It also calls for blocking the Energy secretary from implementing an energy conservation standard that would lead to a ban of a kitchen range or stove based on the kind of fuel it uses.
Republicans have railed against the idea of a ban of gas stoves, saying it represents government overreach into the lives of Americans. Specifically, Republicans have argued that the proposed Biden administration rule would remove stove models from stores.
In a floor lookout Sunday night, the office of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) claimed that “the proposed conservation rules would remove at least half of U.S. stove models from stores.”
The Biden administration, however, sees things differently. In March, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the House Appropriations Committee that the department’s proposed regulations for new gas stoves would not have an effect on half the gas stove models that are on the market.
“The full range of gas stoves absolutely is not affected. In fact, half of the gas stoves that are on the market right now wouldn’t even be impacted,” she said.
“This does not impact the majority and it certainly doesn’t say that anybody who has a gas stove would have their gas stove taken away. … There’s no ban on gas stoves. I have a gas stove. It is just about making the existing electric and gas stoves and all the other appliances more efficient,” she added.
The debate over gas stoves erupted last year after CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. floated potential regulations on the appliances, saying during a virtual webinar that a formal request for information on hazards associated with gas stoves and potential solutions represents “the first step in what could be a long journey toward regulating gas stoves.”
The CPSC chairman, however, later said in a statement: “I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.” But in March, the CPSC announced that it had approved a formal request for information on any hazards associated with gas stoves and possible solutions, a move that could be a step toward potential regulations surrounding the appliances.
House to consider REINS Act
The House this week is also scheduled to take up the REINS Act, legislation that is meant to “increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process,” according to the text of the bill.
The bill specifically seeks to require that “major rules” — including those that cause a major increase in prices or have an annual effect on the economy that is equal to $100 million or more — are approved by Congress before they can take effect.
Scalise’s office said the change would allow lawmakers to act before a rule takes effect “instead of expressing disapproval after” through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Only 20 agency rules have been overturned by Congress through the CRA, according to Scalise’s office.
“Over time, Congress has excessively delegated its constitutional charge while failing to conduct appropriate oversight and retain accountability for the content of the laws it passes. By requiring a vote in Congress, the REINS Act will result in more carefully drafted and detailed legislation, an improved regulatory process, and a legislative branch that is truly accountable to the American people for the laws imposed upon them,” the bill reads.
Text of the REINS Act was included in the debt limit bill — titled the Limit, Save, Grow Act — that House Republicans passed in April. It did not, however, make it into the compromise legislation crafted by President Biden, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and their deputies.
Schumer eyes China, AI, prescription drugs and rail safety legislation
The Senate this week is slated to act on a number of judicial nominations, but beyond that, lawmakers could move into legislation involving other major topics.
During remarks on the Senate floor May 30, Schumer previewed those areas.
“During the work period, I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides to begin the process of advancing bipartisan legislation to 1) outcompete the Chinese government, 2) prepare for a future defined by Artificial Intelligence, 3) to lower the costs of prescription drugs including insulin, 4) to strengthen rail safety regulations, and 5) to build on our work for the past two years to make the U.S. more competitive and more prosperous in the 21st century,” Schumer said.
Rachel Frazin contributed. Updated at 6:42 a.m. EDT.