- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Sen. Marco Rubio vowed to fight to make daylight saving time permanent in the new year as the House prepared to leave town this week without voting on Senate-passed legislation that would stop the seasonal changing of the clocks.

Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, said he is disappointed the other chamber dawdled on his Sunshine Protection Act after the Senate approved it by unanimous consent in March.

The bill would have made daylight saving time or DST permanent in 2023. It eased through the Senate as an increasing number of lawmakers say changing the clocks every March and November is a silly and antiquated act.

“There is a lot of support for making Daylight Saving Time permanent. I am not sure what the House has been doing for the past nine months, but we’ll keep trying,” Mr. Rubio told The Washington Times.

Rather than debate the merits of evening and morning daylight, House lawmakers are racing to pass a massive catch-all spending bill to fund the government through September. Then they will head home for the holidays. The current Congress will end on Jan. 3 and the Sunshine Protection Act, and any other unfinished legislative business, goes back to the starting gate.

Supporters of year-round DST say changing the clocks is too disruptive and the extra sunlight in the evening will promote economic activity while reducing crime and energy consumption because there is more natural light during post-work and post-school hours.

SEE ALSO: Republicans in Senate, House spar over budget

They also say the practice is outdated. Benjamin Franklin is said to have urged Parisians to alter their sleep schedules to save candles and lamp oil.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine agrees that changing the clocks is too disruptive but it has advocated for permanent standard time — the current situation, which the U.S. entered in November after “falling back” — instead of permanent daylight saving time.

The academy says permanent standard time aligns best with human circadian biology and has the most benefits for public health and safety.

Germany made daylight saving time a national practice as a way to conserve energy supplies during World War I by extending usable daylight hours. Other nations followed.

One of the main drawbacks of permanent daylight saving time is that while it shifts more daylight into the evening hours, it makes it darker during the early morning hours.

Concerns about kids heading to school in the dark doomed an effort to make daylight saving time permanent during the Nixon administration in the 1970s when the clocks were fixed in place to combat soaring energy costs. Faced with dwindling popular support, President Gerald Ford signed a bill in 1974 to restore standard time.

Today, Hawaii and Arizona do not observe daylight saving time, although the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona does observe it in line with federal practice.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone held a hearing on the issue earlier this year, but signaled there isn’t agreement on the change.

“I’m just trying to reach a consensus,” he recently told The Insider. “The problem is, half the people want standard time, others want [DST], others don’t want to change it at all.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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