It’s been 189 days since the GOP took control of the House and rather than working on legislation which will foster job creation and strengthen our economy, Republicans are taking American families another step backward and voting on a bill rolling back bipartisan energy standards which will save consumers $12.5 billion when fully implemented.
That’s right – House Republicans, standing still on jobs bills, are up-in-arms over a provision encouraging the production of more energy efficient light bulbs which was written by Republicans, signed into law by a Republican president, and is supported by both light bulb manufacturers and American consumers.
“Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.”
— “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It,” Groucho Marx, “Horse Feathers”
Lately it seems that the House Republican leadership is against everything that isn’t pre-approved by Big Oil or the Tea Party. Perhaps the most outlandish example of this Groucho Marx approach to public policy is today’s vote on the BULB Act, H.R. 2417. It would repeal the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, or EISA, P.L. 110-140. It would also prevent California from setting its own light bulb efficiency standards. The original author of the provision is House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI), who is now supporting the repeal of his own idea after conservatives attacked it along with other clean energy programs.
EISA, with Rep. Upton’s efficiency measure, passed the House in 2007 by a bipartisan vote of 319-100, with support from 49.7 percent of Republicans who voted and 98 percent of Democratic votes. President George W. Bush signed it into law…
This is but the latest example of House Republican leaders promoting a right-wing, dirty energy agenda that harms families and businesses rather than investing in innovation, new products, and jobs—even if they came up with the idea in the first place. [7/11]
The William Wallaces of the Republican Party are defending our freedom again, this time our freedom to buy inefficient light bulbs. The GOP-controlled House is about to pass a bill to repeal the lighting efficiency standards that Congress passed and President Bush signed in 2007, standards that the lighting industry actually supported. The federal government sets energy-efficiency standards for all kinds of products, but Republicans have decided that these are particularly tyrannical, because they ban all incandescent bulbs. Thomas Edison invented incandescent bulbs! What’s next: banning rotary-dial telephones?
Except that Congress didn’t ban incandescent bulbs. It simply required them to use less energy, and manufacturers are responding with a new generation of more efficient incandescents… Did Republicans even bother to read the bills before deciding it was evidence of an evil socialist nanny-state conspiracy?
Why, yes. In fact, a Republican wrote the bill.
The lighting standards were the brainchild of GOP Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan…
You won’t find that press release on Upton’s website, because he’s now chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he’s now helping to repeal his own legislation. [7/12]
The Right Wing of the political spectrum is incandescent on the subject of light bulbs. The government, the charge is, shouldn’t require Americans to buy certain types of bulbs. Aiming to prevent this, the House is set to vote Tuesday on legislation that would repeal federal lighting efficiency standards, which passed with wide bipartisan support in 2007 and are scheduled to kick in next year.
But the 2007 law doesn’t require Americans to buy compact fluorescents or any other type of light bulb. All Congress has done is set a national standard for how much power it takes to produce a certain amount of light. And there’s good reason to demand improved efficiency; about 90 percent of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs use is given off as heat, not light.
The law has had an impressive effect: Light bulb manufacturers have invested heavily in developing new bulbs that use much less electricity, turn on immediately, work with dimmers and produce soft white light. Already, there are familiar incandescent bulbs that meet the federal standards, and there are other types widely available that are much more efficient. [7/11]
…Some Republicans are now framing the law as a liberal attack on personal liberties, which is nonsense – Washington’s most prominent current export – as verified by pulling the votes from 2007….
…This issue is less about personal freedoms than presumed political advantage. Mandate or not, there’s little doubting the wisdom of converting to more energy-efficient products that may be a bit more expensive up front but net a significant savings over time in less energy consumption – you’ll pay more at the store but less when you get your Ameren bill; that produce less pollution – with a collective energy savings reportedly equal to some 30 power plants; and that do not put U.S. industries at a competitive disadvantage – U.S. bulb manufacturers such as General Electric and Sylvania have not objected…
Ultimately, what is liberal or conservative about energy independence? Given the enormous cost in blood and treasure this nation has expended due to the lack of it, and with so much focus on the national debt, it’s a wonder anybody would be opposed to moving in that direction. [7/12]
See earlier posts:
UPDATE: The bill failed to pass on the House floor under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority. The final vote was 233 to 193 with one voting present. Spokesman Drew Hammill:
It’s lights out on the Republicans’ latest bright idea: ignoring jobs, making light bulbs less energy efficient, and asking American families to foot the bill. After 6 months in the majority, it’s time Republicans shined a spotlight on Americans’ top priority – jobs.
Republicans can’t stay in the dark forever; they must abandon their ideological assault on the environment, the economy, and the middle class, and get to work creating jobs and strengthening our economy.