The House is set to include a last-minute safeguard for natural gas stoves against proposed efficiency standards from the Biden administration as part of a sprawling energy package.
Republican leaders are preparing to pass this week the Lower Energy Costs Act, dubbed H.R. 1, which seeks to boost domestic fossil fuel production and lower energy costs by fast-tracking the approval process for new projects.
Included in the dozens of amendments up for debate is one from Republican Reps. Debbie Lesko of Arizona and Gary Palmer of Alabama to prohibit Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm from implementing proposed rules that could render non-compliant more than a majority of new gas stove models on the market.
The amendment also seeks to curb any future stipulations against the popular household cooking appliance — used by roughly 40% of U.S. homes — by blocking “any other rule that would limit consumer access to gas stoves.”
“As Arizona families gear up for spring and summer, don’t forget President Biden is coming for your gas stove,” Ms. Lesko said. “Is your gas-powered grill next?”
The provision comes amid widespread concerns from cooks, builders, lawmakers and everyday Americans that purchasing new gas stoves could be severely restricted by new efficiency rules to combat health and environmental concerns from methane emissions.
Phasing out the appliance at the local level is part of a broader push by mostly Democratic-led cities to electrify the economy and transition away from fossil fuels, including by prohibiting natural gas altogether in new buildings.
While the energy package is expected to clear the GOP-led House Thursday, it’s dead on arrival with Senate Democrats because it undercuts their green energy agenda and President Biden’s tax-and-climate-spending law known as the Inflation Reduction Act. Mr. Biden has even threatened to veto it.
Still, House Republicans hope its passage will breathe new life into bipartisan talks for streamlining the environmental review process for energy projects. They also argue it could give them leverage — particularly if any Democrats break rank — against the White House in negotiations on the budget and debt-limit.
“I would like this to be part of a debt ceiling negotiation,” House Majority Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican and a lead author of the legislation, told reporters. “It’s about time that President Biden actually picks up the phone, calls Speaker McCarthy and accepts his offer to go sit down and talk. This would be one really good item to help get those talks further along.”
The gas stove amendment is one of 37 that Republican leadership will allow to receive a vote in the coming days before a final vote on the package, which is a wide-ranging bill that includes dozens of Republican energy priorities.
The amendment list was whittled down from 173, nearly half of which were filed by Republicans. Leadership’s hands-on approach is to ensure Republicans keep their razor-thin majority unified and avoid any changes that could tank the high-profile measure that Democrats nicknamed the “Polluters over People Act.”
But the amendments tactic also marks a broken promise from leadership, made before House Republicans re-took the majority, for a more free and open debate process.
“You’re not seeing resistance [from Republicans]. What you’re seeing is with any good package of legislation, members are bringing their ideas forward,” Mr. Scalise said. “A lot of these we’ve been working with members on to address different issues that they have in their states.”
Mr. Scalise did not anticipate any GOP defectors, citing as evidence the behind-the-scenes work they conducted with coastal Republicans to assuage concerns about offshore energy production — wind and oil alike — impacting their districts.