The House has yet to pass a long-awaited coronavirus stimulus package to rescue millions of Americans struggling during the pandemic, but they did spend time on Wednesday debating the environmental effects of ceiling fans.
The ceiling fan bill, sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and approved in a bipartisan vote, 396-2, will change the energy standard requirements for “large-diameter ceiling fans manufactured on or after January 21, 2020.”
Language in the bill establishes parameters for exemptions of large fans under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which provides guidelines for minimum energy efficiency standards for more than 60 types of home appliances.
The new bill focuses on electricity standards for the fans based on “Using an Airflow Constant of 26,500 cubic feet per minute” and “Using a Fan Efficiency Constant of 42 percent.”
Reupping energy bills and making changes to standards cut consumer utility bills and saves energy, which in turn mitigates the effects of climate change, environmentalists have argued.
But the spirit of bipartisanship over the fans has yet to extend to a COVID-19 bill, with the vote taking place less than three weeks before unemployment benefits stemming from the pandemic are set to expire, the day after Christmas. In addition, moratoriums on evictions and student loan forbearance expire at the end of the year, worrisome deadlines to millions of Americans in financial peril.
Congress passed a stopgap bill earlier in the day to avert a government shutdown and fund the government through Dec. 18, giving lawmakers an extra week to haggle over an omnibus spending bill, which is expected to roll in COVID-19 relief into one huge package.
A bipartisan group of senators last week unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus relief deal that included about $300 billion in funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, $240 billion in aid for state and local governments, $180 billion to extend boosted unemployment benefits at $300 per week for four months and a temporary moratorium on COVID liability lawsuits to allow states enough time to design their own laws.
Lawmakers are hopeful on reaching an agreement before they break for the holidays, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.has said he has his own targeted coronavirus relief bill based on what President Trump would sign into law.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.