H.R. 2417, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (BULB), burnt out Tuesday as the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the measure despite fierce support from the GOP and conservatives. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, would have repealed energy efficiency standards for light bulbs as a way to counter what some feel was big government coming down on the little guy on American streets.
The bill, which drew much fire from environmental organizations like NRDC and also the White House, did technically muster enough votes to pass on a simple vote – 233 to 193 – but because of being brought up under a process called suspension failed to get the two-third super majority needed to pass. Barton, despite being disappointed by its failure, noted that “the issue is too important to let it go away. If we don’t repeal this de facto ban before January, the power will be cut to the traditional, affordable, reliable incandescent light bulb and Americans will have to fork over at minimum five times more to buy bulbs for their homes.”
Originally incorrectly pegged as an outright ban on incandescent light bulbs, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu took time out to point out the fact that one will still be able to “buy energy-saving halogen incandescent bulbs that look exactly the same as the ones you’re used to, and more than pay for themselves over the life of the 100 watt replacement bulb.” It was his belief hat such more energy efficient bulbs would also help lower electrical costs for average consumers.
On a national level, it is said, consumers will save $6 billion in year from the new light bulb standards. As for the lighting industry sector, many called for the bill to not be passed.
Barton, part of a growing movement of conservatives trying to counter what it believes is an example of something the government should keep its nose out of, seemed unswayed by such logical arguments. His final statement to the fact said “it is the perfect symbol of government over regulation and that is why we will continue to look for avenues to bring this bill up and ultimately repeal the de facto ban on traditional light bulbs.”