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Alabama congressmen oppose regulations on dishwashers and fridges

All of Alabama’s Republican House members voted to restrict the Department of Energy’s ability to regulate household appliances.

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On Tuesday, all six of Alabama’s Republican members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards Act and the Refrigerator Freedom Act.

Rep. Barry Moore said the bills “would protect our constituents from unnecessary costs and keep energy standards sensible and beneficial.” Rep. Jerry Carl stated that “it’s time to get Biden’s bureaucrats out of our homes.”

Moore also tweeted drawings of a dishwasher and a fridge with the caption “Come and Take It,” repurposing a phrase frequently used by gun rights advocates.

Both pieces of legislation are almost identical, with essentially the only difference being whether the text refers to dishwashers or “refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.”

The bills would prevent the Department of Energy from creating or enforcing standards that are not “technologically feasible and economically justified,” that would increase costs to consumers, or that would not result in “significant energy savings.” The Secretary of Energy would have to determine whether a regulation passes all three tests.

The White House announced in a statement of administration policy that it “strongly opposes” both bills. It criticized “vague, red-herring provisions … that would add uncertainty to the implementation of these standards and create unnecessary hurdles for DOE in making future updates.”

However, despite Rep. Gary Palmer calling the DOE’s recent regulations on dishwashers and refrigerators part of a “regulatory war on American households,” it’s unclear whether they would actually have been affected if both bills had been passed last year.

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As House Republicans recognize in their published policy briefs, the DOE estimated that their recent changes to refrigerator and dishwasher regulations would actually save American consumers money. Similarly to other federal regulations that Republicans have attacked recently, consumers would pay more up front but save money over time.

Plus, the DOE already considered feasibility and energy savings as part of the rule-making process.

Perhaps because of this, the House Republicans’ policy briefs also detail several potential issues not mentioned in their legislation. A prominently listed concern not directly addressed by either bill is that “regulatory overreach will cede more economic power to China.”

One policy brief also questions the importance of reducing CO2 emissions. Referencing a book titled “Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less,” it states that “the greater deployment and reliance on fossil-fueled ‘machine labor’ and energy use” are responsible for increases in standard of living, life expectancy, and GDP.

The brief does not address that, regardless of public policy, America will have to move away from using fossil fuels at some point—they’re a nonrenewable resource and will inevitably run out.

The votes on both bills fell almost exactly along party lines. With Democrats in control of the Senate, and the White House “strongly” opposed, the bills will likely have to be reintroduced during the next Congress.

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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