Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alaska Congressman Don Young Votes Yes On HR 2417 "Light Bulb Bill", But Bill Needed 285 Votes To Pass, And Only Passed 233-193

Alaska Congressman Don Young was one of 233 House members to vote against outlawing standard incandescent light bulbs, but it was not enough. Unfortunately, it required a Yes vote from two-thirds of House members (285), and so HR 2417, known as the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, failed. The two-thirds Yes vote was required because it would have repealed certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act which mandate the discontinuation of traditional incandescent light bulbs as early as 2014. Read the full roll call vote HERE or HERE. The vote split along party lines, with only 10 Democrats voting in favor, and five Republicans voting against.

HR 2417 would have repealed Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. HR 2417 stated "No Federal, State, or local requirement or standard regarding energy efficient lighting shall be effective to the extent that the requirement or standard can be satisfied only by installing or using lamps containing mercury". It also stated "No State or local regulation, or revision thereof, concerning the energy efficiency or energy use of medium screw base general service incandescent lamps shall be effective". The House GOP leadership may bring it back for approval under procedures that require only a simple majority. The repeal faces dim prospects in the Democratic-controlled Senate, however.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX6), the sponsor of the bill, said "We're not opposed to new technology. We're saying let people make their own choices. Why in the world does the federal government have to tell people what kind of lights to use in their home?" And that's precisely the point. There was no national emergency requiring a federal mandate; this simply could have been left to the private sector. When the price and availability of the new bulbs makes them a better value than the old bulbs, people will buy them. Traditional incandescent bulbs cost about about 30 to 50 cents apiece, while updated incandescent versions cost $1.50, although proponents claim the new bulbs last longer.

Kudos to Congressman Young for once again voting for liberty and common sense. This is one of the major reasons why we Alaskans keep sending him back to Congress.

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