This Sunday could be the last time we ever “fall back.”
Keeping the clocks the way they currently are can be made permanent, if the US House of Representatives passes what’s called the Sunshine Protection Act.
It doesn’t have to be this way, four months of what Rep. Brad Finstad called “perpetual darkness” and live with it dark at 4:30 p.m. all winter.
Can Congress agree on this one thing?
“I don’t know why we can’t,” Finstad, who represents Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, said on La Crosse Talk PM. “We gotta focus on the things that can bring the Republicans and Democrats together and ending Daylight Saving Time, that should be one area where we should find some agreement.”
A year ago, the US Senate passed on a voice vote the Sunshine Protection Act, making Daylight Saving permanent. The House has yet to take up the measure and — for lack of a worse cliché — the clock is ticking.
If the House doesn’t pass it by year’s end, the process starts all over, and it’s not likely the Senate will pass it again.
It was hard to get a read on Democratic Rep. Ron Kind’s stance Thursday. There was a hint of sarcasm in the 26-year veteran’s answer, though the retiring Congressman laid out the simple argument to pass the measure.
“Hey, listen, that’s my No. 1 priority,” Kind said with a laugh. “Let’s fix that. People won’t have to lose or gain an hour’s sleep and just keep it steady and constant.
“The economic benefit, I think, is pretty negligible — the justification for it. It would just be nice for all of us to be on the same page and on the same clock for a change, you know?”
Kind, on La Crosse Talk PM, thought there were bigger things to worry about — unlike a measure that would literally affect every person in every state except Indiana and Hawaii, which already doesn’t change the clocks.
But, he again, succumbed to being badgered that anything’s possible.
“It’s not a high-priority item with rising prices, inflation, energy issues that we’re facing,” Kind said. “Those are kind of taking priority these days.
“We still have a budget to pass in the middle of December, and things do get included in a major bill like that. So, the fact that the Senate has moved, if there’s enough support in the House to put that in, I mean, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.”
Finstad said he hates falling back.
“I’m just actually dreading the idea of us going into this perpetual darkness phase that we’re gonna be in for the next six months here in Southern Minnesota,” Finstad said. “You leave for work in the dark and we’re getting home in the dark. I know there’s been some talk in the House. We’ll see if, after the election next week, what the appetite for Congress is.”
US House Rep. Mark Pocan, of Madison, didn’t have an opinion on Daylight Saving. The Democrat also wasn’t sounding very optimistic, in talking to him last month, that it would get a vote.
“We’ve gotta get a budget done by the end of the year and the defense authorization, and I’ve got the feeling things are gonna be added to those two bills,” Pocan said. “I think if we get those two big bills done, that’s what’s going to be the important stuff we gotta get done.”
U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the issue, said in a statement to Reuters the House is still trying to figure out how to move forward.
“We haven’t been able to find consensus in the House on this yet. There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be,” Pallone, a Democrat, said, adding that opinions break down by region, not by party.