Republicans Lose the Battle of the Bulb

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"GOP fails to overturn law to make light bulbs more energy efficient."

AHN, Kris Alingod

House Republicans failed late Tuesday to overturn a Bush administration law requiring light bulbs to be more energy efficient.

Lawmakers voted 233-193 on a measure to repeal portions of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, falling short of the two-thirds the GOP needed for passage under suspended rules procedure.

The measure authored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) would repeal provisions setting forth new standards, such as for conventional 100-watt incandescent bulbs to use no more than 72 watts, or 30 percent less energy, and a time frame for such standards.

The energy-efficient requirements begin next year and by 2014, current conventional light bulbs can no longer be sold.

However, the standards apply only to most ordinary incandescent lights. Chandelier bulbs are exempted, as are bug lamps, colored lamps, marine lamps, plant light lamps, reflector lamps, bulbs less than 40 watts, and many other lamps that are used for appliances and specific purposes.

Republicans, who gained the majority in the House last November, believe the new standards are a government overreach and violation of consumer freedom. Barton said in a statement after the vote he would continue to work on preventing the law from taking effect.

"This vote clearly shows which party is for bigger federal government involvement in people's daily lives and which is for consumer choice," the Texas congressman said.

The Energy Independence and Security Act was introduced by Democrats and signed by then-President George W. Bush after amendments were introduced into it. Manufacturers and retailers nationwide have complied with its mandates and are well on their way to meeting the phaseout deadline. IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, stopped selling incandescent lights in its U.S. stores early this year.

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