Two of Congress’ biggest beneficiaries of fossil fuel industry money have introduced legislation to block a federal gas stove ban that does not exist and has not been proposed.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday unveiled their solution in search of a problem: the so-called Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, which would prevent the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from using federal funds to outlaw new or existing gas stoves.
Republicans have spent the last three weeks manufacturing public outrage that the Biden administration plans to send jackbooted federal agents to seize gas kitchen appliances.
“I can tell you one thing, they’re not taking my gas stove out,” Manchin chuckled during a committee hearing Thursday. “The federal government doesn’t have any business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”
“I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave our house is the gas stove we cook on,” Manchin said in a separate statement announcing the bill.
Unless Manchin renovated his kitchen, he isn’t cooking with gas — at least not while he’s in Washington, D.C. A 2004 article in the Washington Post about the 65-foot houseboat he lives on when he’s in town notes that the “designer kitchen boasts a full-size electric stove, granite counters, two dishwashers, a trash compactor and Sub-Zero refrigerator.” At the time, the boat had a different name and owners.
Manchin’s office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Thursday.
In a separate statement, Cruz said “radical environmentalists want to stop Americans from using natural gas.”
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s proposed ban on gas stoves is the latest egregious scaremongering by the Far Left and their Biden administration allies,” he said.
Putting aside whether Manchin is being truthful about the type of stove he uses day-to-day, he, Cruz and other allies of the oil and gas industry are lying when they say federal regulators are coming for Americans’ gas stoves.
The GOP backlash stems from comments that Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, made last month. In an interview with Bloomberg, he floated regulating or banning new gas stoves amid mounting research that the appliances emit harmful pollutants indoors, posing risks to human health. Gas stoves have been shown to emit potentially unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants, even when they are not in operation. One recent study linked the appliances to childhood asthma.
“Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Trumka told the publication.
Trumka and CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later clarified that the agency has not proposed any ban or new regulation for gas stoves, but is researching the issue and exploring ways to reduce associated risks. The White House has also said President Joe Biden does not support a gas stove ban.
“To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves,” Trumka posted to Twitter, adding that any future regulation would apply only to new products.
By then, the culture war cat was already out of the bag.
The gas stove hoopla is the latest chapter of a disinformation-rich GOP war against President Joe Biden’s climate agenda — one that has also included false claims that the administration would ban hamburgers and other red meat to curb planet-warming emissions.
“Senator Manchin is doing his part to fuel the ridiculous rightwing panic over a non-existent war on gas stoves, but his intent behind this legislation is serious: to inhibit climate action and undermine agencies charged with protecting public health and safety — all in the interest of propping up his fossil fuel funders,” Jim Walsh, policy director of environmental nonprofit Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.
It comes as no surprise that Cruz and Manchin are running to the gas industry’s defense. Both have deep ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Cruz has received a whopping $4.24 million in oil and gas industry donations over his career — the third most of any member of Congress, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org. Manchin has raked in $1.26 million over his career. That includes a stunning $757,000 during the 2022 cycle — more than any other member of Congress.