House backs bills to roll back energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, dishwashers

The House Republicans approved on Tuesday two bills that would roll back Energy Department standards for refrigerators and dishwashers.

Republicans have called the Biden Administration rules expensive and unpractical. Democrats, however, defend them as a means for consumers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and save money.

Mariannette Miller Meeks, a Republican Representative from Iowa, has introduced a bill to curtail Energy Department regulations on refrigerators. Nick Langworthy, a Republican New York Rep., has introduced a separate bill that would prevent the Energy Department from implementing new energy-saving rules if these are not “cost effective or technologically feasible”.

The dishwasher bill was passed 214-192. Both bills now go to the Democratic-controlled Senate where they are unlikely to advance.

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The White House has said that it is strongly opposed to both bills, but did not threaten a veto if they reach Biden.

The White House stated that the bills contain “vague” language and misleading statements which “would create uncertainty in the implementation of (efficiency standards) and unnecessary obstacles for DOE when making future updates”.

Langworthy stated that his bill, Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards (SUDS Act), would “put a brake on the Biden Administration’s relentless attack on efficient, reliable and affordable appliances for everyday Americans by overbearing regulation.

Langworthy stated during a debate on the House Floor that the Energy Department and other agencies “abused and twisted” a law from the 1970s aimed at promoting energy conservation to “serve the radical, woke environmental agenda of far left”. Why should Americans, who put their groceries on credit card, be forced to deal more expensive and out-of date regulations?

Miller-Meeks also used the same language when he said that Biden’s administration had implemented “outrageous regulation” which only served to restrict consumer choice, raise energy prices, and control what Americans can do on a daily basis.

Frank Pallone of New Jersey, top Democrat in the House Energy and Commerce Committee said that Republicans were wrong. He said that the proposals, instead of lowering costs for American families’ home energy bills, would actually increase them.

Pallone stated that energy efficiency standards would “save Americans on their energy bills and boost innovation through modernizing appliances in the future, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is part of our ongoing efforts to fight the climate crisis.”

Pallone stated that the current and planned energy efficiency actions of the Biden Administration will save Americans more than $1 trillion in the next 30 year and reduce greenhouse gas emission by over 2.5 billion metric tonnes.

Pallone has been in Congress for 36 year and said that energy efficiency was “a bipartisan topic, but no longer”. Extreme Republicans have decided that they’d rather do the bidding of corporate polluters as they continue to move forward with their polluters-over-people agenda.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican chair of Washington’s energy panel, stated that modern appliances like the dishwasher at home and the refrigerator were “not the result of aggressive mandates or regulations by the government, but American ingenuity.”

She added that “the Biden Administration’s War on American Energy is now Reaching Inside the American Homes” with what she called “out of control appliance mandates.”

Rep. Katie Porter (D-California) said that many Republicans who support the appliance measures do not even know how dishwashers operate or how much they are.

Porter stated, “I am a single mother and I use the dishwasher every day. I unload, load, unload, rinse, and buy detergent.

She asked Republican colleagues how much it cost to run a typical dishwasher per month. Porter, when no one responded, answered her question by saying that typical costs range from $2 to $4 per month. She said, “In other words about one-third a frappuccino.”

Porter said that contrary to Republican claims, loading the dishwasher correctly is key to ensuring clean dishes.

She added, “This bill is absurd.” It is Congress at its worst. “A bunch of people that have never unloaded a dish washer telling the American public… which dishwashers they can or cannot buy.”

Both bills were supported by seven Democrats. John Moolenaar, a Michigan Representative, was the lone Republican who opposed the refrigerator bill. The dishwasher bill was not opposed by any Republican.