A proposal to make daylight saving time permanent is finding bipartisan support in the House after its passage in the Senate.
But it’s unclear when – or if – the lower chamber will take up the legislation as leaders punt the effort to the back burner in favor of other pressing matters, including responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Word of the proposal passing in the upper chamber Tuesday quickly rocketed across both traditional and social media, one of the few pieces of news to break through almost wall-to-wall coverage of the crisis in Ukraine and gas prices at home. House members on both sides of the aisle almost immediately voiced their support for the push, despite appearing caught off-guard by its swift path through the Senate.
“I think it just caught us all by surprise that the Senate actually produced something and sent it to us. Usually — usually bills go the other way,” Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarJan. 6 witnesses to be NBC guests at media dinner Democrats yank COVID relief after revolt by own members The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden goes after Putin, stresses unity MORE (Calif.), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters early Wednesday.
The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent Tuesday afternoon, using a fast-track procedure that requires every senator to agree.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Irish PM tests positive for COVID-19 during visit to DC Five takeaways from Zelensky’s virtual address to Congress House relearns history of legislative surprise rule MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday told The Hill she supports doing away with the semiannual time switch. But she wouldn’t provide further details about when the House could take up the matter, particularly with leaders working with the administration to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We didn’t realize they were acting so quickly and dispositively of it,” Pelosi said. “I, myself, support making daylight saving time permanent. I think it’s not going to be much of an issue for us. But we have to socialize it in our caucus, and our Congress, not just the caucus.”
But she quickly added that lawmakers also have “important work to be doing,” as the Biden administration seeks tougher action on Russia, including its recent push to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioExplainer: What would a permanent daylight saving time look like? Lawmakers back Biden on potential economic penalties for China Senate unanimously approves making daylight saving time permanent MORE (R-Fla.), lead sponsor of the daylight saving time proposal, urged the House to move swiftly on the legislation. That call has also been echoed by Rep. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R-Fla.), who is pushing for the measure in the lower chamber.
“It’s time to end the antiquated practice of changing our clocks twice a year, which is why I’m leading a letter to Speaker Pelosi calling for immediate consideration of my bill with Sen. Rubio, the Sunshine Protection Act,” Buchanan said.
The proposal’s passage on Tuesday came days after much of the nation saw their clocks spring forward one hour on Sunday for daylight saving time. The change will remain until early November.
However, under the newly passed proposal, daylight saving time would be made permanent, starting November 2023, meaning most who changed their clocks at that time of year would no longer have to.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) also pressed for speedy action on the legislation, saying on Wednesday afternoon, “The funny thing about this place is we have the ability and the capacity to handle multiple issues at one time.”
“The members, for the most part, have thought about these issues for a very long time. We can lean on some of these issues. So, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to obviously be focused on Ukraine” while taking up daylight saving time and other legislation, Donalds added.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) also said if Pelosi decided to move on the bill, “it could pass very quickly.”
But other members say the proposal is not a priority as lawmakers continue to focus on the devastation unfolding in Ukraine.
“I’m really thinking about dying people and I’m thinking about what’s going on in Ukraine. We just had the president here. I don’t give a damn about what people think about it,” Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money — Biden warns prices to go up amid Russia ban House Democrats take aim at corporate greed during inflation hearing The Memo: Boebert’s antics seen as new sign of politics’ decline MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday, referring to the Senate-passed proposal.
“To be candid, it’s not been on my radar. We got other things that have been more front and center,” House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOvernight Health Care — Scalise wants Fauci to testify Scalise calls for Fauci to testify at upcoming hearing Capitol marks two years since closing to public from COVID-19 MORE (R-La.) told The Hill on Wednesday afternoon, adding lawmakers remain “focused on Ukraine,” following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent address to Congress.
While House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerZelensky challenges conscience of Congress Supporters of Puerto Rico status convention to Hoyer: Our bill or bust Shalanda Young confirmed as OMB director MORE (D-Md.) didn’t provide a timeline on when the chamber would act on the legislation in remarks to reporters on Wednesday, he noted lawmakers had months to pass the proposal.
“Everybody seems to be very concerned about this, and I understand that. There could be some urgency to it. But it’s not like something’s gonna happen. We’re gonna have daylight saving time at least until November, I guess,” Hoyer said. “So, it’s not like if we don’t act today we’ll either lose an hour or gain an hour tomorrow.”
Pressed about the effort on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — More weapons but no planes for Ukraine Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden calls for faster gas price drop Biden’s climate alarmist nominees send a chilling message to financial institutions, the energy industry MORE said the Biden administration “didn’t have a specific position” on the legislation.
Expert testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee pointed to health risks associated with switching to and from daylight saving time. Neurology professor Beth A. Malow cited a review “linking the annual transition to [daylight saving time] to increased strokes, heart attacks, and teen sleep deprivation.”
Alex Gangitano and Jordain Carney contributed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism