Not the Brightest Idea: With Default Looming, GOP Focuses on Lightbulbs

With America just 22 days away from not paying its bills and the need to create more jobs on everyone’s mind, House Republicans had the bright idea of bringing an unnecessary lightbulb bill to the House floor today.

This misguided bill would repeal light bulb efficiency standards set in 2007 that will save consumers billions of dollars every year. The standards are supported by the lightbulb industry and have spurred innovation as companies have already made the investments needed to produce these energy efficient bulbs.

More importantly, this bill has absolutely nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with making a political appeal to the far right wing of the Republican Party.

But even if we did have the luxury of time to focus on lightbulbs instead of jobs programs or deficit reduction, this bill is nothing more than a solution in search of a problem.

The industry supports these standards, as Randall Moorhead, VP of government affairs at Philips, a light bulb producer, told Think Progress:

“When this bill was passed, it was passed by people who knew how to make light bulbs. Everyone supported it. And since then, it’s created more choice for consumers – we have two incandescent bulbs on the market that weren’t there before.”

In fact, these efficient lightbulbs actually save consumers money. Each new incandescent bulb cost about $1.50 each and saves about $3 in energy bills over the life of the bulb. If all 4.4 billion light sockets in the U. S switched to efficient light bulbs, it could potentially save more than $12.5 billion nationally each year when fully implemented.

On top of that, this bill would repeal a measure that passed with widespread bipartisan support.

As National Journal reports:

“At the time it was introduced, the legislation was championed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike. The original 2007 lightbulb efficiency language was co-sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Ill. It passed easily through the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was added as an amendment to a bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 86-8, the House by a vote of 314-100, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.”

“So how did Republicans get from there to here on the lightbulb law?“

“The answer has very little to do with energy policy, and everything to do with tea party politics.”

Democrats are ready to go to the floor and let the sparks fly when it comes to debating a real jobs agenda. But by bringing misguided bills like this one to the floor instead of a comprehensive jobs plan, it is clear that House Republicans are still in the dark.