Suspension votes are generally reserved for non-controversial bills, although this is not the first time Republicans have risked failure by putting a bill on the suspension calendar. In February, for example, the House rejected two bills in this manner -- one instructing the Obama administration to seek repayment from the United Nations, and other to extend Patriot Act surveillance authorities.

During Monday's debate on the lightbulb bill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and other Republicans said federal standards will have the effect of banning incandescent bulbs next year, since they will be unable to meet energy standards that take effect then. Barton said this is a problem because compact fluorescent bulbs and others than can meet the standards are several times more expensive.

Other Republicans argued that by setting efficiency standards, the government is setting requirements in the market that determine winners and losers. "The issue is, should the federal government come in and mandate a monopoly," Rep. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeLawmakers question FBI director on encryption Loss of Ryan hits hard for House Republicans Doug Collins to run for House Judiciary chair MORE (R-Texas) asked.

Democrats argued that the bulb standards Republicans were objecting to were supported by Republicans just a few years ago, and were signed into law by President George W. Bush. "This used to be something that we all agreed upon," Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said.

Rep. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenatorial attack on the First Amendment Senators demand info on unusual surveillance activity in DC Overnight Tech: Dem FCC commish stepping down | Lawmakers clash over internet 'fast lanes' | Tech giants vow not to help government cyberattacks | Tax filers to get extension after IRS tech troubles MORE (D-Mass.) and other Democrats added that while compliant bulbs are more expensive, their efficiency saves consumers money on the other end, and reduces the need for energy production.

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHouse passes 'right to try' drug bill Overnight Health Care: What to expect in omnibus | HIV expert to head CDC | Sessions issues memo on death penalty for drug cases Overnight Regulation: Senate passes Dodd-Frank rollback | SEC charges Theranos CEO with 'massive fraud' | Former Equifax exec charged with insider trading | FEC proposes changing digital ad rules MORE (R-Texas) tried an unusual route in trying to win Democratic support for the bill -- vanity.

"Here's the bottom line: those of us of a certain age, under a compact fluorescent bulb, we don't look as good as we do under an incandescent bulb," Burgess said to laughter. "Even the former chairman of my committee of Energy and Commerce suffers from what might be called spectrum fatigue under a compact fluorescent bulb."

Burgess was referring to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), now the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman spoke immediately after Burgess to introduce a Democratic speaker, but made no comment on how he or anyone else looks under fluorescent lighting.