GOP takes last shot at repealing light bulb ban

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) on Wednesday proposed legislation to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs, just weeks after a a ban on the most common traditional bulbs took effect.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 phased in a ban on bulbs that don't meet new energy efficient standards. As a result of that law, the 100- and 75-watt bulb is already banned, and the 60- and 40-watt bulb was banned as of this month. Stores can continue to sell off their stock, but after that, they're gone.

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Republicans in particular have said the light bulb ban is an example of the nanny state that needs to be repealed. The GOP had some success delaying elements of the new policy, but it now appears likely to take hold for good.

Duncan's bill, H.R. 3818, would repeal the entire section of the 2007 ban dealing with energy efficiency standards for bulbs. But GOP leaders have so far given no sign that they would consider the bill in the coming weeks.

Rep. Ted PoeTed PoeCameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday highlighted the problems related to ending the sale of incandescent bulbs, and requiring consumers to buy compact fluorescent bulbs. Poe said the new bulbs are much more expensive and contain mercury, and thus pose possible health risks and must be disposed of very carefully.

"You are supposed to take them to a local recycling center. Yeah, right," he said on the House floor.

"If a person decides to take the risk and throw the light bulb out at home, listen closely, because, of course, it is more complicated," he said. "The light bulb should be sealed in two plastic bags and then placed in the trash outdoors so as not to pollute landfills if it breaks."

Poe also complained that the law effectively tells Americans what they must buy, and said that shouldn't happen "whether it is health care, a box of donuts, or even CFL light bulbs."

"As Willie Nelson has said: 'Turn out the lights, the party's over. They say that all good things must end. Turn out the lights, the party's over,' for at least Thomas Edison's light bulb." 

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