The Senate passed a “joint resolution” on May 21, 2024 designed to block a Department of Energy (DOE) rule that imposes stricter energy-efficiency requirements on residential gas furnaces, and, despite President Joe Biden threatening a veto if both houses of Congress approve the resolution, the senator who introduced the bill is urging the House to take up the resolution “and pass it.”

S.J. Res. 58 was introduced on Feb. 1, 2024, by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) under the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to overturn certain federal agency actions including final rules, and was passed 50 – 45. S.J. Res. 58 provides “for congressional disapproval” of the DOE rule “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Furnaces” directing that the rule “shall have no force or effect.”

Once introduced in Congress, joint resolutions are designated “H.J. Res.” in the House and “S.J. Res.” in the Senate followed by a number, and requires the approval of both Chambers in identical form, and the president’s signature to become law, which is the same legislative process for a bill to become law, thereby making no real difference between a joint resolution and a bill.

DOE says the rule—which was finalized on Dec. 18, 2023, and became effective on Feb.16, 2024, but does not require consumer furnaces to comply with the amended standards until Dec. 18, 2028---amends energy conservation standards for consumer furnaces, specifically non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces, because the amended energy conservation standards for the consumer furnaces “would result in significant conservation of energy, and are technologically feasible and economically justified.”

However, Cruz said because the DOE rule requires the elimination of “all non-condensing natural gas furnaces” it will force consumers “to spend thousands of dollars to change their furnaces,” and “will only serve to further hurt families who are already struggling to get by.”

Biden disputes that claim saying the stricter energy efficiency requirements will save consumers money as the rule requires manufacturers to sell only furnaces that convert at least 95 percent of fuel into heat.

Click here to read S.J. Res. 58 and here to read the DOE final rule.