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House Republicans ‘put polluters over’ Americans with legislation of home appliances

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The Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act, or H.R. 6192, is House Republican-led legislation which intends to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and change procedures of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Republicans mean for the DOE to issue or revise its energy and water conservation standards for various appliances and prohibit the DOE from prescribing new or amended energy efficient standards for products that are not technically feasible and economically justified.

The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) is a coalition of 98 members of the U.S. House of Representatives founded in January 2009 to be a focused, active, and effective coalition for advancing policies that address climate change, promote clean energy innovation and domestic manufacturing, develop renewable energy resources, create family-sustaining clean jobs, protect our nation’s air, water, and natural environment, and promote environmental justice.

Leaders of the SEEC, including Co-Chairs Reps. Doris Matsui, Mike Quigley, and Paul Tonko, Vice Chairs Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia, Matt Cartwright, Sean Casten, Chellie Pingree, and Katie Porter and Chair Emeritus Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, released the following statement in response to the passage of H.R. 6192), which would raise energy prices for American families.

“After voting to gut a wide range of environmental protections last week, House Republicans have once again doubled down on their destructive crusade to put polluters over people. This week, Republicans are targeting common-sense efficiency standards that save Americans energy and money. For decades, DOE’s standards have cut household utility bills by hundreds of dollars each year while ensuring our clothes washers clean better, our lightbulbs last longer, and our air conditioners run quieter. Despite this, House Republicans want to make it harder for DOE to deliver consumer savings that have broad support from the American public.”

The SEEC calls the legislation “a real lose-lose for the American people, delivered to you by House Republicans who want to prioritize the profits of their fossil-fuel industry friends over the wallets of hardworking American families. All Americans deserve access to high-quality and efficient home appliances.”

Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, who represents Virginia’s District 4, voted against H.R. 6192, and gutting the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ability to finalize and enforce efficiency standards for common household appliances.

According to McClellan, H.R. 6192 threatens the Biden-Harris Administration’s past and planned energy efficiency actions, which will save Americans $1 trillion and cut greenhouse gas pollution by more than 2.5 billion metric tons over the next 30 years. The finalized energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators and freezers could save families more than $36 billion over 30 years. The recently finalized standards for residential water heaters are expected to save households approximately $7.6 billion per year on their energy and water bills.

“While House Democrats fight to protect reproductive freedom and voting rights, House Republicans focus on protecting polluters,” McCellan said. “This bill is a ridiculous waste of time and fear mongering that only peddles Republicans’ false claims that Democrats want to take away Americans’ appliances. The Department of Energy is required by law to implement energy efficiency standards–which do not impact existing appliances in Americans’ homes–and the agency’s efforts under the Biden-Harris Administration are expected to save Americans billions of dollars in the coming years. But Republicans are more concerned with petty political games than lowering costs for the American people. While House Democrats are putting people over politics, this bill shows that House Republicans are putting polluters over people.”

Energy efficiency standards are popular, commonsense tools to save Americans money on their energy bills. Three out of five Americans support stronger energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings. Many of the efficiency standards finalized by DOE were reached through consensus recommendations made by appliance manufacturers and efficiency advocates.

McClellan spoke in opposition to the bill on the House floor during debate. The bill passed on a vote of 212 to 195. Watch McClellan’s floor speech here. Read the full bill text here.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.