Energy & Environment

House Dems attempt to block Trump admin roll back Obama-era lightbulb rule

House Democrats on Wednesday moved to block the Trump administration from rolling back Obama-era energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs.

Democrats passed a nearly $1 trillion spending bill Wednesday afternoon that attempts to block President Trump's policies on climate change, abortion and immigration.

The bill, passed in a 226-203 vote that fell largely along party lines, includes an amendment that would stop the Trump administration from rolling back the Obama administration's standards for lightbulbs. The bill funds the Department of Energy (DOE), which had proposed regulations for lightbulbs that would eliminate efficiency standards for half the bulbs on the market.

There are about 6 billion lightbulbs used to power American homes. About 3.3 billion are the traditional, pear-shaped kind, while another 2.7 billion run the gamut of shapes and sizes. 

Under the DOE rule proposed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency's standards would not change but regulations would only apply to pear-shaped bulbs.

Governors, attorneys general, and Democratic senators have expressed concern or asked the Energy Department to withdraw the rule entirely. If the agency proceeds with rolling back the standards, they are likely to be hit with lawsuits from a coalition of 16 different states as well as environmental groups.

A number of states passed legislation to fight the lightbulb rollbacks.

"This is really just kind of getting the junk off the market that make people think they're getting a good deal because they cost less but end up costing them more money in the long run," said Vermont state Rep. Kurt McCormack (D), who helped pass a bill to fight the rollback there.

The spending bill includes other measures that fund research on energy efficiency and renewables.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where the amendment and other policy proposals face removal.

DOE did not immediately respond to request for comment.