How Many Republicans Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

Today, instead of voting on a bill to create jobs and strengthen our economy, House Republicans will bring to the House floor a bill that rolls back bipartisan energy efficiency standards signed into law under President George W. Bush and saves American families and small businesses billions of dollars per year.

While Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the GOP like to claim the original legislation signed into law in 2007 is a symbol of liberal government intrusion – the facts tell a different story:


At the time it was introduced, the legislation was championed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike. The original 2007 lightbulb efficiency language was co-sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Ill. It passed easily through the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was added as an amendment to a bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 86-8, the House by a vote of 314-100, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. [National Journal, 7/11]

In fact, of the 95 Republicans who originally voted for these new energy standards in 2007 – 55 of them remain in office, including House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton and Republican leaders Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Peter Roskam and Pete Sessions.


The standards, Chu said on a conference call, do not ban traditional incandescent bulbs, as many Republicans have alleged. Instead, they require that the bulbs become more energy efficient. “I want to take this opportunity to dispel a myth,” Chu said. “These standards do not ban incandescent bulbs.” The standards, which were passed as part of a landmark 2007 energy law, require that incandescent bulbs be 30 percent more energy efficient beginning in 2012. [The Hill, 7/8]


These standards would save Americans more than $12.5 billion annually when fully implemented in 2020–enough energy annually to power all the homes in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The bottom line: This legislation is bad for families, bad for our economy, and bad for our environment.

Randall Moorhead, Vice President of Government Affairs at Philips:

“When this bill was passed, it was passed by people who knew how to make light bulbs…

“Everyone supported it. And since then, it’s created more choice for consumers – we have two incandescent bulbs on the market that weren’t there before…

“We support the notion that efficiency is a desirable thing, and this type of standard has been a part of our body politic for a long time… The reality is, consumers will see no difference at all. The only difference they’ll see is lower energy bills because we’re creating more efficient incandescent bulbs.”

Jim Haworth, Chairman and CEO of Lighting Science Group Corporation:

“Last month, Lighting Science Group celebrated a monumental achievement — becoming the first U.S. company to manufacture 2 million LED bulbs in less than a year. These bulbs will save Americans about $34 million in electricity costs — more than 280 million kilowatt hours — over the course of a year, equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from about 38,000 passenger vehicles or the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of about 24,000 homes for one year. A year ago, Lighting Science Group had 100 employees in Florida; we now have 350.

“It is unfortunate that some in Congress want to roll back standards signed into law by President George W. Bush that are designed to increase the efficiency of light bulbs by at least 25 percent.

“Doing so will inevitably increase energy bills, stifle innovation that is creating U.S. jobs and increase air pollution that harms human health and the environment.”

Sacramento Bee Editorial – Roll back bulb standards? Not a bright idea

Unless sharper minds prevail, the U.S. House of Representatives today is expected to eliminate lighting efficiency standards that former President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007.

Those standards have helped usher in a new wave of super-efficient, power-saving light bulbs by dimming the switch on incandescent ones, even though those older bulbs remain popular among some Americans.

After turning back the clock, the House will be free to help bring back the horse and buggy and ice boxes. After all, some people are fond of buggies and ice boxes, even if most people prefer modern automobiles and refrigerators.

The pending action by the Republican-controlled House defies logic and reason, but rationality doesn’t seem to guide many of its decisions. Instead, the House is driven by the histrionics of conspiracy theorists, who have popularized the notion that sales of compact fluorescent bulbs are part of some government-industry plot…

By rolling back groundbreaking energy standards, this chamber would have us go back to the dark ages.

New York Times Op-Ed – Robert Semple, Jr.: Dim and Dimmer:

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a daft and destructive measure that — in the name of individual freedom — would repeal national energy efficiency standards for light bulbs enacted by Congress in 2007. Though utterly without merit, the bill stands a fighting chance in a legislative body where ideology now routinely trumps common sense.

The standards, approved with bipartisan support as part of a broader energy bill signed by President George W. Bush, require new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs starting next year, and 65 percent less energy by 2020. Though the standards are likely to encourage wider use of compact fluorescent bulbs and newer high-efficiency light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), they do not ban incandescents, as some politicians have claimed; they simply require them to be more efficient.

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