The fight over gas stoves — prompted by both health and environmental concerns — has kickstarted a wider discussion about the role of government in our daily lives and freedom of choice.
The stoves in kitchens, the radios in cars and even the light bulbs in homes have become targets for federal lawmakers in recent years.
And it’s led some to say enough is enough.
“We need to get serious in the United States,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said. “What we can’t do are these crazy demands from the Department of Energy and from the EPA.”
Congress is set to vote on Tuesday on the Save Our Gas Stoves Act, one of the two bills the House is considering this week that would restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate or ban gas stoves.
The debate comes weeks after New York passed a first-of-its-kind bill banning natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings statewide.
This comes as the Biden administration looks to enforce tougher energy efficiency standards on stoves, ovens and other kitchen appliances for new homes — a move Republicans say is gross federal overreach.
“The Biden administration is trying to make Americans’ lives even more expensive. The Biden administration doesn’t seem to understand it’s supposed to be of, by and for the people,” Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) said.
But Democrats say Republicans are making a mountain out of an anthill.
“They seized upon an inartful statement by one government official and shall we say cooked up this crazy theory that someone’s coming to get your gas stove,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) said. “The government agency went out, it studied the stoves currently on the market and found that half of them already meet the standard.”
And it’s not just stoves.
Despite the years-long shift to LED light bulbs, some Americans are frustrated that the Department of Energy’s ban on older incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lights will soon take effect, saying it should be up to consumers what kind of lights they use.
Similar pushback has been seen from car makers as the government weighs requiring AM radios for every car. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing major automakers, said that kind of tech is outdated and unnecessary in the 21st century, but lawmakers say they’re crucial in emergencies.
Meanwhile, at the state level, legislators seem to be more worried about addressing the kinds of snacks we can buy, as California considers a ban on red dye number 3 and other food additives, which could see snacks like Skittles, Nerds, and even some protein shakes be removed from shelves.