US House conservatives revolt against leadership, block gas stove bill
WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - A small group of Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday stopped their leaders' drive to protect gas-fueled stoves from regulation, raising questions about the party's ability to advance other legislation this year.
The revolt had nothing to do with the kitchen appliances, stemming instead from lingering bitterness over a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
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In a surprise move, roughly a dozen conservatives sided with Democrats in a 220-206 vote that prevented the House from taking up a gas-stove bill backed by Republican leadership.
The effort underscored the ability of a handful of conservatives to challenge the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who presides over a narrow Republican
The next steps are unclear. McCarthy met with some of the rebels behind closed doors after the failed vote, but the chamber wrapped up business for the day without announcing whether they would try again.
Some state and local governments have begun prohibiting gas-fueled furnaces, water heaters and stoves in new buildings as a way of reducing fossil-fuel emissions contributing to climate change.
The Republican bill, if passed by the House, could have faced resistance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
One of the conservative House Republicans who voted "no," Representative Ralph Norman, accused McCarthy of a "bait and switch" in his negotiations to raise the debt ceiling with Democratic President Joe Biden. Norman and other far-right Republicans had pushed for far deeper spending cuts than the $1.3 trillion that were enacted into law.
Others said they were angry over McCarthy's handling of an unrelated bill designed to roll back new federal restrictions on certain pistols. "We’re not going to live in the era of the imperial speaker anymore," said Republican Representative Matt Gaetz.
The House had been scheduled on Tuesday to vote on a bill that would prohibit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from declaring gas stoves to be hazardous or otherwise restrict their sale.
Another bill, scheduled for Wednesday, would restrict energy conservation standards and block the Department of Energy from issuing rules that would raise the price of gas stoves or force them off the market.
Throughout this summer McCarthy will be responsible for passing spending bills through the House ahead of the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.
Failure to do so could lead to the risk of a partial government shutdown, as has happened several times over the past decade. (Reporting by Richard Cowan, Moira Warburton and David Morgan in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)