On Tuesday, a cohort of House Republicans blocked a rules package that would allow debate on four pieces of legislation, including two bills that would prohibit regulation on gas-powered stoves. The move is surprising not only because procedural rule votes rarely fail to pass muster, but because for months Republicans have been screeching about the need to defend gas stoves from the tyranny of consumer safety standards.
Twelve Republicans sided with Democrats to strike down the package. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confirmed to reporters shortly after the vote that the defection by GOP lawmakers including Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) was revenge against Republican leadership for their handling of last month’s debt ceiling negotiations.
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“We’re frustrated at the way this place is operating,” Gaetz said. “We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” he added.
Gaetz: We took down the rule because we're frustrated at the way the place is operating. We're concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated. pic.twitter.com/k9ruBv8rJj
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
Gaetz himself tweeted in January that he would not give up his gas stove unless it was pried from his “COLD DEAD HANDS!” He’s apparently placed his indignation on the backburner in order to get back at McCarthy.
How much pain this will actually cause House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) is debatable. While kitchen range politics have become all the rage among lawmakers looking to score some cheap culture war points, there is no current proposal for federal regulations on home cooktops, however some individual states and cities have implemented local legislation. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told reporters, who asked if he and his colleagues’ actions signaled a larger stalemate for Republicans’ legislative agenda in the House, that McCarthy needed to “abide by the agreements he made,” when elected Speaker in order to restore order.
The hysteria over gas stoves was kicked off in January after CPSC Agency Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in an interview that evidence suggests gas-powered appliances may contribute to poor indoor air quality and childhood asthma. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Trumka said.
The commission later clarified that they had no plans to ban the cooking appliances, but Republicans quickly turned their cooktops into a culture war flashpoint, posting memes and angry tweets about the sanctity of gas-powered stoves. Last month, during a House Oversight Committee hearing titled “Consumer Choice on the Backburner: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Gas Stoves,” Democrats roasted Republicans on how truly idiotic the topic of debate was.
“I want to apologize on behalf of the Democratic Party that we have decided to [prioritize] kids’ safety in their neighborhoods, from getting gunned down in movie theaters or grocery stores, or school churches or synagogues,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said in a sarcastic statement to the committee. “We as Democrats have clearly lost our way, that we are not focused on appliances.”
After Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) proposed the Save Our Gas Stoves Act to block the “radical, out of touch” regulatory proposals around gas stoves, Moskowitz introduced several amendments to the act mocking the entire bill. In one he called for the creation of the position of “Supreme Allied Gas Commander” in the Department of Energy “to police the use and sale of gas stoves.” The congressman also proposed a statue honoring gas stoves be placed in Statuary Hall.
Lesko was undeterred, and defended her bill Tuesday morning before Gaetz and company sabotaged the vote, describing safety standards as “radical” and “out of touch.”
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