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House returns to gas stoves, passing bill to block federal ban

Second gas stove measure scheduled for Wednesday vote

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said the bill wouldn't prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission from doing research or from agreeing on voluntary standards with the industry.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said the bill wouldn't prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission from doing research or from agreeing on voluntary standards with the industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission from finalizing any rule banning gas stoves, returning to the measure a week after conservative Republicans scuttled their leaders’ efforts to get the legislation to the floor.

The 248-180 vote for the bill from Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., included 29 Democratic supporters, confirming Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ assertion in floor debate that the measure had bipartisan support. Bilirakis, R-Fla., is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce. 

The bill would prevent the CPSC from using federal funds to finalize or enforce a ban on gas stoves, or impose any safety standard that would significantly increase their average price. Republicans introduced the bill after a CPSC member raised the prospect of a ban only to be quickly contradicted by the agency chairman.

“We all agree that consumer product and safety is important, yet it is apparent that the underlying motivation behind this veiled consumer safety play is a green climate agenda with the goal of further restricting natural gas,” Armstrong said on the floor. “This bill is about ensuring that Americans have continued access to the entire product category of gas stoves…. The commission can still do its function, but it has to stay in its lane.”

He said nothing in the bill prohibits the CPSC from doing research or developing voluntary standards with the industry.

CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr., a Democrat, said in January that the agency would consider a ban to address indoor air pollution, referring to it as a  “hidden hazard.”

Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, also a Democrat, contradicted Trumka, saying a ban isn’t forthcoming and that the CPSC doesn’t have any proceeding to do so. The White House said it has no plans to ban the use of gas stoves, a position it reiterated in a statement of administration policy in which the Office of Management and Budget opposed the bill, but without saying whether the president would veto it. 

The White House comments did little to prevent Republicans from saying the government was moving forward on a ban, with calls to defend a citizen’s right to own a gas stove cropping up across right-wing media and appearing in campaign ads. Some members warned that the administration would follow the lead of some Democratic-led jurisdictions that have sought to ban new gas hookups in order to meet climate goals. 

Armstrong pointed to a request for information released March 1 by the CPSC as evidence that the agency was in fact seeking to move forward with a ban. The request calls for scientists and others to submit information on the health hazards associated with gas stoves, including childhood asthma, and potential solutions to remediate these hazards.

House Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said that the bill would unnecessarily tie the hands of the CPSC and that it “puts politics over people and consumer safety. It puts slogans over science-based policy decision making.”

The House adopted, 222-210, an amendment from Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., that would expand the CPSC prohibition to prevent the agency from finalizing any regulation that would affect the availability of any product “based on the type of fuel the product consumes.”

The House is scheduled to take up Wednesday a second bill that would prevent the Energy Department from finalizing an energy efficiency rule for gas and electric stoves and cooktops. 

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