Let There Be Light…And Freedom To Choose Its Source

The House of Representatives is expected to vote, on Tuesday, on a bill that has become a symbol of Americans’ freedom of choice versus government control in their everyday lives. The Bulb Act will repeal a section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which would ban the traditional incandescent light bulb, beginning in January of 2012, with the 100 watt bulb. Currently, we are in what is known as the “phase-out” period of Thomas Edison’s bulb, to be completed in 2014, as the government forces us to purchase newer model incandescent bulbs that reportedly save energy but will cost about $1 more than the traditional models. The compact fluorescent light bulbs that the government has promoted contain toxic mercury and must be discarded as a special “hazardous” waste product.

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The Bulb Act was introduced by Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). It is significant legislation not only because of its emphasis on the degree to which the federal government has overreached into the everyday lives of Americans, but also because it marks a concrete conservative shift in House Republicans. The Energy Independence and Security Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush and supported widely by both Republicans and Democrats in the House.

But don’t get too excited about getting back your light bulb freedom yet. The House will need a special two-thirds majority to pass the repeal and, of course, most Democrats will vote against it. If it fails, House Republicans may take up the bill again under the regular rule which would require a simple majority. However, even with passage in the House, the repeal will likely not pass the Senate at this juncture.

Regarding the Republican legislation, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

Sounds like a classic liberalism if I ever heard one.

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