WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – A push by the U.S. Congress to make daylight saving time permanent, which was passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this year, has stalled in the House, a key legislator having told Reuters he was unable to reach a consensus.
In March, the Senate voted to end the biannual clock change next year, which supporters say will lead to brighter afternoons and increased economic activity.
U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, who chairs the energy and commerce committee with jurisdiction over the matter, said in a statement to Reuters that the House was still trying to figure out how to move forward.
“We have not yet been able to find a consensus in the House on this. There is a wide variety of opinions on whether to maintain the status quo, move to permanent time, and if so, what time it should be,” Pallone, a Democrat, said, adding that opinions were split by region, not party.
Legislative aides told Reuters they did not expect Congress to reach an agreement before the end of the year. Senate supporters are expected to reintroduce the bill next year if it is not approved by the end of the year.
DST has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s. Year-round DST was used during World War II and re-adopted in 1973 in an effort to reduce energy consumption due to an oil embargo and repealed a year later.
“We don’t want to make a hasty change and then reverse it years later after public opinion turned against it – which is exactly what happened in the early 1970s,” Pallone said. .
On Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT), the United States will resume Standard Time.
Pallone has previously said he supports ending clock switching, but has not decided whether to support daylight saving time or winter time as a permanent choice.
Proponents also argue that if approved, the so-called sun protection law would allow children to play outside later and reduce seasonal depression. It would also prevent a slight increase in car crashes that typically happen around daylight savings time, including crashes with deer.
They also point to studies suggesting an uptick in heart attacks and strokes shortly after the time change and argue the measure could help businesses like golf courses attract more customers in the evening.
Critics, including the National Association of Convenience Stores, say it will force many children to walk to school in the dark during winter, as the measure would delay sunrise by an hour to certain places.
On Sunday, Mexico rolled back its clocks one last time after passing a law last week to abolish daylight saving time. However, some northern cities will continue to practice the spring time change, likely due to their ties to US cities across the border.
The move, long desired by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was based on voter support as well as negligible energy savings and negative health effects from the time change, officials said.
The White House declined to say earlier this year whether Biden favored permanent DST.
Since 2015, around 30 states have introduced or passed legislation to end the biannual clock change, with some states offering to do so only if neighboring states do the same.
The bill would allow Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe daylight saving time, to stay on standard time as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Porto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; additional reporting by Kylie Madry in Mexico City; edited by Diane Craft
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