A not-so-bright idea

Updated
 
A not-so-bright idea
A not-so-bright idea
Associated Press

In 2007, the light-bulb provisions of an energy bill weren’t considered controversial in the slightest. At the time, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and congressional Democrats worked together on the larger legislative package, which included advanced light-bulb standards, intended to spur innovation, lower costs, and improve energy efficiency.

The provision was approved with bipartisan support, and the larger bill was easily passed and signed by President Bush. Best of all, the advanced light-bulb standards have worked beautifully, and we’ve seen exactly the kind of innovation the bill intended to create.

So, it’s a success story, right? Wrong. As the Republican Party became increasingly radicalized, GOP policymakers began looking at the bipartisan energy bill as an authoritarian scourge that sought to take away Americans’ light bulbs. What’s more, they refuse to let this go.

A House Republican is planning in the coming weeks to revive the GOP offensive against federal lightbulb efficiency standards.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) will offer an amendment to Energy Department spending legislation that would block funding for implementation of the standards, the lawmaker’s office told The Hill. The standards have come under fire from conservatives in recent years.

Republicans won the inclusion of a similar provision in an omnibus spending compromise that House and Senate lawmakers agreed to in December. The provision blocked funding for implementation of the law for fiscal year 2012. Burgess’ amendment would apply to fiscal year 2013.

Rush Limbaugh and other leading Republicans are enthusiastic backers of these efforts – even Mitt Romney, who presumably knows better than to fall for this garbage, is parroting right-wing talking points – arguing that Bush’s 2007 energy bill “bans” traditional incandescent bulbs, which in turn takes away consumers’ choices.

For the umpteenth time, there is no “ban.” Democrats and Republicans simply agreed to make light bulbs more energy efficient, and their efforts are working.

But GOP lawmakers, at least in 2012, don’t care, and want to undo the effective reforms, which in turn would waste more energy, cost consumers more money, and even undermine the marketplace. Republicans don’t care, however, because this is about some amorphous concept of “freedom” that only conservatives understand.

Lightbulbs

A not-so-bright idea

Updated