House Republicans fail to roll back efficiency restrictions they themselves sponsored in 2007, despite libertarian outrage
House Republicans failed last night to roll back lightbulb restrictions that have irked libertarians, small-government conservatives, and any non-environmentalist who enjoys 89-cent bulbs.
A Republicans, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) originally proposed the lightbulb efficiency standards along with then-Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), as part of the 2007 energy bill passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by President Bush. Congressional Republicans split 96-95 against the full bill, which focused on renewables and energy savings.
Libertarians hate this. The 2007 standards would phase regular lightbulbs out of the U.S. market by 2014, requiring consumers to buy more efficient bulbs, which cost about $3, compared to less than $1 for regular lightbulbs. Sen. Rand Paul, who has crusaded against environmental standards for consumer goods, launched into a a diatribe about lightbulbs and low-flow toilets at an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing where Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and the U.S. Department of Energy, testified. "You can't go around your house without being told what to buy," Paul told her. "You don't care about my choices, you don't care about the consumer, frankly. You raise the cost of all the items with all your rules, all your notions that you know what's best for me."