Freedom Action - Light Bulb Bill Fails 2/3rds Hurdle in House, but Majority Support Means Early Passage

Free Our Light Campaign Sees Bright Future for BULB Act

Washington, D.C., July 13, 2011 – The House this week failed to pass legislation to repeal the ill-conceived ban on standard incandescent light bulbs, but the bill’s future is bright.  The bill failed to reach the two-thirds majority required under special rules, but a clear majority voted in favor of H. R. 2417, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.  The 233 to 193 vote means that the legislation will easily pass the House when considered under regular rules that require a simple majority. 

“The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the government telling them what kinds of light bulbs they can and cannot buy,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Freedom Action.  “The fight to repeal the light bulb ban has become a classic battle of the people versus big business special interests and their environmental pressure group allies.  Freedom Action’s Free Our Light campaign has helped make the voices of American voters heard in Washington and Congress has started to listen.”

“It’s disappointing that only five Democratic Members of the House voted to repeal the ban.  It’s unfortunate that more Democrats have not followed Rep. Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who supported the ban in 2007, but has now realized that it hasn’t worked out,” Ebell continued.  “The good news is that the Republican Majority have listened to the American people and are determined to put consumers back in charge of what kind of light bulbs to buy.  Freedom Action will continue to build support for the repeal bill, and we look forward to the House passing it in the near future.”

“Freedom Action applauds the sponsors of the bill led by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), the House Republican leadership led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) for their outstanding leadership on this important issue of putting people back in charge of their own consumer decisions,” Ebell concluded.   

Freedom Action earlier this year launched a national grassroots campaign,, to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs that is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012. 

The ban on standard incandescent bulbs was included in comprehensive anti-energy legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush in 2007.  The 2007 law makes the sale of standard incandescent 100-watt bulbs illegal as of January 1, 2012, 75-watt bulbs as of January 1, 2013, and 60- and 40-watt bulbs as of January 1, 2014. 

The five Democrats who voted with 228 Republicans to repeal the ban were: Representatives Dan Boren (Oklahoma), Jim Matheson (Utah), Collin Peterson (Minnesota), Nick Rahall (West Virginia), and Jerry Costello (Illinois).  Ten Republicans joined 188 Democrats in voting against the bill.  They were: Representatives Charles Bass (New Hampshire), Brian Bilbray (California), Scott Garrett (New Jersey), Morgan Griffith (Virginia), Richard Hanna (New York), Tim Huelskamp (Kansas), Tom Reed (New York), Dave Reichert (Washington), Scott Rigell (Virginia), and Glenn Thompson (Pennsylvania).  One Republican (Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah) voted present, and four Democrats did not vote.