House passes light bulb bill

The House passed a bill repealing federal light bulb standards that would have placed a de facto ban on incandescent bulbs.


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.

The success of the amendment appeared inevitable in the House, where the fate of the incandescent light bulb became a symbol in the fight against federal regulations.

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.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) got majority support - 233 votes - for a stand-alone bill repealing the efficiency standards Tuesday, though that fell well short of the two-thirds it needed to pass under expedited floor rules. Only five Democrats voted for Barton's bill after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi whipped Democrats against it. Ten Republicans opposed the measure on the floor.

The Burgess amendment would have only needed majority support in a roll call vote.

The spending bill now goes to the senate with the light bulb amendment attached. This may give it a better shot of passing, as Democrats would probably hesitate in trying to filibuster a spending bill due to a politically popular amendment on light bulb standards.

Hopefully, 51 senators will see it the same way.