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House to vote on blocking new dishwasher, refrigerator energy standards

David Jordan, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday is scheduled to consider two bills to block stricter energy efficiency standards for dishwashers and refrigerators as Republicans continue a push against the Biden administration’s updates.

The refrigerator bill from Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, and the dishwasher bill from Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y., would prevent the Energy Department from finalizing or enforcing standards that are “not technologically feasible or economically justified.”

The bills would also prevent the standards from being implemented unless they result in a “significant conservation of energy,” and the department determines they will not increase consumer costs.

The Energy Department finalized new standards for dishwashers in April and residential refrigerators in December, with compliance required later this decade. It said these standards will help lower Americans’ utility bills while also helping to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that stem from these appliances’ electricity usage.

The department has noted that the updated standards merely fulfill the requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to reflect changes in technology. But it has increasingly faced pushback from Republicans, who argue the efficiency changes are unworkable for manufacturers and would raise costs.

“These regulations only serve to increase prices for these essential home appliances, reduce consumer choices and impair their performance while claiming to fix a problem that does not exist,” Miller-Meeks said when her bill was marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March.

House Republicans have passed similar bills before. In May the House passed a more sweeping bill that would require all energy efficiency standards to meet requirements such as a “significant conservation of energy or water” and allow the department to grant a petition to revoke or amend energy conservation standards if it finds they are not feasible with current technology.

 

And in response to comments from a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year the House passed two bills that would prohibit the administration from finalizing any regulation prohibiting gas stoves.

Each of these bills has passed with a small minority of Democrats joining the Republican majority. However, many Democrats, including Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., have mocked the bills and questioned Republican priorities.

“This is what we are dealing with on this magical House floor, with all of the challenges the American people are confronting? Liberty for laundry? Defending the dignity of dishwashers? Fighting for freedom of refrigerators?” Jeffries said on the floor in May.

The White House on Monday said it strongly opposes the bills.

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