Incandescent “ban” repeal passes in House — by voice vote

posted at 4:05 pm on July 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A standalone effort to reverse federal standards that had the effect of banning cheap incandescent bulbs failed earlier this week, angering conservatives who saw the issue as symbolic of the nanny-state regulatory approach in Congress.  However, a similar measure added as an amendment to another bill passed by voice vote earlier today:

The House on Friday morning moved to block federal light bulb efficiency standards without even a roll call vote.

An amendment from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient starting next year was approved rather anticlimactically by voice vote. …

Democrats and the White House have opposed the move to block the standards, which were included in a 2007 energy bill signed by President George W. Bush. DOE has said the standards could save consumers $6 billion a year.

The first bill failed because Rep. Fred Upton brought it to the floor under a suspension of the rules, which meant that it had to clear a 2/3rds supermajority to pass.  Some Republicans, such as Joe Barton, rejected the bill because it also barred states from creating their own standards; Barton objected to it as an affront to the 10th Amendment.  It had almost no chance of passing regardless, as Nancy Pelosi actively whipped her caucus to oppose it.

The new amendment does not actually repeal the federal regulation.  It only forbids the Department of Energy from enforcing the standards in the next budget year.  Even if this passes the Senate and gets Obama’s signature — probably likely, since it’s now attached to the funding for all energy and water-development agencies — it only fixes the problem through September 2012.  The amendment would have to be attached every year unless Congress removes the regulatory language, an effort that will have no chance of passage at all while Obama is President.

For the moment, though, it appears that Americans can choose for themselves what kind of lightbulbs they prefer, and whether they want to save money on energy or at the point of sale.  Since Washington is the last entity that can claim standing on cost savings, this seems like a much better idea.

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An amendment from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient starting next year was approved rather anticlimactically by voice vote

I just found another house candidate to donate to.

Vashta.Nerada on July 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Rasmussen…

67% Oppose Upcoming ‘Ban’ on Traditional Light Bulbs

SouthernGent on July 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

you silly people…the ban is for your own good so that you don’t waster your money, we are making you save money, you should be thanking us

/Prof. Chu, nobel laureate

r keller on July 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Too little, too late.

novaculus on July 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Give me back my bullets bulbs.

/rhythm by Skynrd.

ted c on July 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

80% of Americans want bad/ expensive lightbulbs, not cheap, bright bulbs.

portlandon on July 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

“…an effort that will have no chance of passage at all while Obama is President.”

I think I am beginning to see a pattern here…

/

Seven Percent Solution on July 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Hazmat cleanup industry hardest hit.

Chip on July 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Upton should be primaried regardless.

It was his authorship of the 2007 law that started this nonsense.

aquaviva on July 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

holler!

I’m not sorry for stockpiling incandescent bulbs the last few years though ;)

liquidlanguage on July 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

80% of Americans want bad/ expensive lightbulbs, not cheap, bright bulbs.

portlandon on July 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Don’t worry, Mitch McConnell has a plan to give the President sole authority to determine which light bulbs Americans use. So he’ll take the political consequences.

HitNRun on July 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

You ean the bulbs filled with mercury?

Brings to mind this song:

T O U R I N G T H E M I L K Y W A Y

Hopping ‘round the Universe, vacationing in style
In a heated spacecraft, like sailing down the Nile
See Alpha Centauri and then take off again
Beats the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids and Big Ben.

Welcome to the Milky Way, my favorite galaxy
The very first planet from the sun is known as Mercury
The name comes from a speedy god, I heard he was a geek
There isn’t a thermometer that can calculate its heat.

honsy on July 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM

So will companies continue to manufacture the old lightbulbs if this bill only postpones enforcement of the ban for one year?

Raisedbywolves on July 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Too bad that no light bulbs are made in the US anymore. Another industry killed/outsourced by government regulation.

ConservativeMom on July 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

So will companies continue to manufacture the old lightbulbs if this bill only postpones enforcement of the ban for one year?

Raisedbywolves on July 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Yes, for two reasons. One, they’re continuing to manufacture them now. Two, they have every incentive to manufacture right up until it’s illegal, because the bulbs would be more valuable after a ban descended.

And three, they see the writing on the wall and figure that a Republican president will be repealing the ban in January 2013.

HitNRun on July 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

You can have my incandescent bulb when you can pry it from my hot, bright hand!!!!!

Hening on July 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

What better thing to do in the middle of the Obama Depression – tax people even more, reduce energy supplies making them more expensive and make common items like light bulbs even more expensive.

Sometimes it feels like Obama wants this country to fail.

Chip on July 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Shun GE’s CEO.

Schadenfreude on July 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Let the market decide. The gov’t is not your mother.

Throw the bumbs all out.

Schadenfreude on July 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

yahoo

cmsinaz on July 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

holler!

I’m not sorry for stockpiling incandescent bulbs the last few years though ;)

liquidlanguage on July 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Me neither!!! I’ve got a 10-year supply, I saved an average of over $1/bulb by buying in bulk, and I’ll break even cash-wise in less than 3 years.

The alleged electricity savings for the dysfunctional and not-ready-for-consumer-use CFL’s, LED’s, etc. will not pay for the re-fixturing necessary to use these pigs. In addition, all of them introduce NEW PROBLEMS, including chemical hazards, fire safety, and electrical incompatibility with existing wiring and controls.

And NONE of the “new” bulbs come anywhere close to achieving their “rated” lifetime: CFL’s are particularly bad – most of them cannot even outlast their incandescent equivalent, which costs only 10% of what a CFL costs.

landlines on July 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

ConservativeMom on July 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

My point, exactly.

HitNRun on July 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Too late. See Mom’s post.

novaculus on July 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

For the moment, though, it appears that Americans can choose for themselves what kind of lightbulbs they prefer, and whether they want to save money on energy or at the point of sale.

Maybe, but it’s probably not going to have an effect on anything. G.E. already shuttered its last domestic lightbulb plant due to these regulations (all their CFL production is in China), and they’re not going to reopen it for a repeal that lasts only a year. Those jobs are gone and they’re not coming back.

But at least people can choose for themselves what to buy.

Personally, I like CFLs, because I can put a much brighter light into a socket that’s not rated for high-wattage bulbs. So if I have a socket that’s only rated for 60w bulbs, I can put a 23w CFL in it and get the equivalent luminary output of a 100w incandescent. So I like them. But that’s my choice, not the government’s.

Caiwyn on July 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Rasmussen…
67% Oppose Upcoming ‘Ban’ on Traditional Light Bulbs
SouthernGent on July 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

“Shut up, slopeheads, this ban is for your own good!”

-demorats

Bishop on July 15, 2011 at 4:35 PM

67% Oppose Upcoming ‘Ban’ on Traditional Light Bulbs
SouthernGent on July 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

If everyone here were polled, would it read more like 99% oppose the ban? Because I sure do!

capejasmine on July 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Democrats: Share your love of little glass bulbs containing mercury and Sacrifice your money for no good reason.

Chip on July 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Personally, I like CFLs, because I can put a much brighter light into a socket that’s not rated for high-wattage bulbs.
Caiwyn on July 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

I have glaucoma and hate them. They make my eyes hurt more than normal.

Knucklehead on July 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM

You can have my incandescent bulb when you can pry it from my hot, bright hand!!!!!

Hening on July 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

ROFL!!!

capejasmine on July 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM

My guess is that the way this was done – first under a suspension vote needing 2/3 of House to pass, then as an amendment on a bill sure to pass – is going to provide another talking point for Republicans campaigning in 2012.

They have all the Dems on record as voting against repealing the light bulb ban as a stand alone measure. Those mean old Dems are taking your light bulbs . . . not a big deal but it will be an effective add on to all the other things the Dems are taking from us every day.

Greyledge Gal on July 15, 2011 at 4:46 PM

If you want a “ban” that will immediately save tons of money for each and every American (and their children and grandchildren), drastically reduce the cost of all forms of energy, promote better health, improve the economy, create millions of new jobs, and advance FREEDOM, here it is:

BAN LIBERAL DEMOCRATS!!!

landlines on July 15, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Personally, I like CFLs, because I can put a much brighter light into a socket that’s not rated for high-wattage bulbs.

Caiwyn on July 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Better choices: halogen or LED.

But, as you point out, the key is to have the CHOICE!!!

landlines on July 15, 2011 at 4:55 PM

It’s still stupid to pass laws and then defund their enforcement. We do the craziest things. Oh, and great work to do this after the last plant that makes the bulbs pulled up stakes and left the country.

Cindy Munford on July 15, 2011 at 4:56 PM

“when they feel the heat, they see the light.”
Everett Dirksen

scrubjay on July 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM

a ban which gets pushed back every year? Oy that ought to make it easy for manufacturers of said light bulbs to plan for the future.

Not.

clement on July 15, 2011 at 5:08 PM

I want to be able to use both – I like using the energy efficient ones for light that are on a lot, and mostly for pretty such as a small lamp light in my hall, or in my bedroom, but I like the incandescent light when I want light I actually need to see by, so those go in the overhead lights.

Queen0fCups on July 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM

DOE has said the standards could save consumers $6 billion a year.

What do these cock-biting nitwits care what we spend on light bulbs and electricity?! These are the same freaks who spent $800 billion on Porkulus. Leave us the f*** alone.

Jaibones on July 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Me neither!!! I’ve got a 10-year supply, I saved an average of over $1/bulb by buying in bulk, and I’ll break even cash-wise in less than 3 years.

The alleged electricity savings for the dysfunctional and not-ready-for-consumer-use CFL’s, LED’s, etc. will not pay for the re-fixturing necessary to use these pigs. In addition, all of them introduce NEW PROBLEMS, including chemical hazards, fire safety, and electrical incompatibility with existing wiring and controls.

And NONE of the “new” bulbs come anywhere close to achieving their “rated” lifetime: CFL’s are particularly bad – most of them cannot even outlast their incandescent equivalent, which costs only 10% of what a CFL costs.

landlines on July 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

How do you decide how many to stash? I’ve got about 80, and I think I want to get to about 120 of them, all 100W of course. Any formula?

slickwillie2001 on July 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM

This really doesn’t help, because the manufacturers of incandescents have already started to shut down production. It’s a moot point if there are no incandescent bulbs to buy.

Common Sense on July 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Ed, as you say in your post, this isn’t a ban-repeal. It’s only a one-year defunding. Your headline is misleading.

American Elephant on July 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Dim bulbs can’t stand the competition.

Roy Rogers on July 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM

…it only fixes the problem through September 2012.

Why do they even waste their time passing useless legislation like this? I’m assuming it is so they can look good to their constituents. If so, this is further proof that most of those we send to Washington are more concerned with their own re-election than with the good of the country. As happy as I was to read the headline of this thread (because I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate those swirly ice cream cone bulbs), the thought that those who are running our country are passing laws that only serve their own political careers – which is not only a misuse of power, but also leaves no one to actually do the business of running the country (and we millions of Americans are bound by these self-serving laws) – has turned this from an announcement I thought I’d be celebrating with great joy to the depressing realization that if things don’t change, America is screwed.

We need Sarah Palin.

miConsevative on July 15, 2011 at 8:19 PM

For the moment, though, it appears that Americans can choose for themselves what kind of lightbulbs they prefer, and whether they want to save money on energy or at the point of sale.

So long as you get those bulbs from China.

mizflame98 on July 15, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Give me back my bullets bulbs.

/rhythm by Skynrd.

ted c on July 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Aw Yeah!

mizflame98 on July 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

they see the writing on the wall and figure that a Republican president will be repealing the ban in January 2013.

HitNRun

Not necessarily a given, considering it was a Republican who signed it into law to begin with.

xblade on July 16, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Jaibones hit it right on the head.

Quit taking our FREEDOMS away and Leave Us The F#$% Alone!

If they don’t, it is going to get very, very ‘Interesting’ in this country, if you get my drift!

Deacon on July 16, 2011 at 1:09 AM

There is nothing anywhere forcing consumers to purchase incandescent lightbulbs of any kind. If the alternatives save the consumer enough to pay for the lost aesthetics and dimming capabilities, consumers will gladly do what the government regulation tries to force upon us.

Get the gluey government mess out of my face.

{^_^}

herself on July 16, 2011 at 1:24 PM

My local grocer has them on sale 4 for 98 cents. The cfls i like don’t last very long.
i Obama will put a lot of signing statements on the bill even if this gets passed.

seven on July 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM