Left-wing lawmakers say the absence of a common standard for electronics chargers causes ‘economic and environmental harm’ — and they want the government to step in

News & Politics

In a letter last month to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, three left-wing lawmakers took issue with the lack of uniformity among the chargers used to power electronic gadgets, and urged the U.S. government to tackle the issue.

“We write regarding the economic and environmental harm inflicted by the consumer electronics industry’s failure to establish uniform charging accessory standards — a shortcoming that requires consumers to frequently change their charging accessories. This planned obsolescence is expensive and frustrating for consumers, and drives the proliferation of electronic waste (ewaste),” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in the letter.

The European Union plans to mandate USB Type-C as the required charging port for various electronic devices. The liberal senators wrote, “we urge you to follow the EU’s lead by developing a comprehensive strategy to address unnecessary consumer costs, mitigate e-waste, and restore sanity and certainty to the process of purchasing new electronics.”

“We urge you to coordinate with offices and agencies across the Department of Commerce to develop a comprehensive plan that will protect both consumers and the environment by addressing the lack of a common U.S. charging standard,” they wrote.

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The legislators’ letter focusing on the topic of chargers came even as Americans continued to face pressing economic burdens amid soaring inflation and high gas prices.

Warren tweeted on Thursday, “Consumers shouldn’t have to keep buying new chargers all the time for different devices. We can clear things up with uniform standards—for less expense, less hassle, and less waste.”

While many people supported the idea, others were not on board with the prospect of such government meddling.

“Government-standardized technology to spare us from innovation? Elizabeth Warren has apparently discovered the fountain of bad ideas,” Reason contributing editor J.D. Tuccille tweeted.

“No one should ever trust the government for advice on reducing waste,” conservative radio host Dana Loesch tweeted.

“It’s in the Constitution: The Congress shall have Power to establish a uniform Rule on the subject of mobile device Chargers,” former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash sarcastically tweeted. “This will not improve everybody’s life; it will stifle innovation and harm consumers. In any case, constitutionality isn’t based on whether someone—or even everyone—likes the law,” he noted in another tweet.


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