Republican bid to turn out the lights failed

Dan Weiss reports at Climate Progress that the attempt to kill energy conservation standards failed tonight.  It required a two-thirds vote from the House to suspend the rules to consider it (the bill did not go through normal legislative channels) — the bill failed.

You may want to read Steve Lacey’s earlier explanation of the bill there, too.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Tony Sidaway and his tweets.

19 Responses to Republican bid to turn out the lights failed

  1. James Hanley says:


    Actually, the late to the party comment is more directed at Morgan and his fellow Republicans.

    Sorry, I don’t find it an example of real genuine opposition when said opposition waits near 5 years in the case of the current standards and near 30 years in the case of the original standards to voice their objections. Its not real’s opposition created by a bunch of craven people who have convinced their fellows to oppose the idea now even though they didn’t oppose the idea originally.

    Ah, it was on my blog, so I thought it was directed at me. Still, I don’t know if I entirely agree with you here. Certainly they’d love to hang a perceived “socialist” regulation on Obama, even though he was not the president who signed it into law. But I’m not sure we can say “they” didn’t oppose it originally. Certainly there were Republicans who opposed it then (163 votes against in the House on the original bill, 100 on the final bill; 27 and 8 in the Senate; and I assume all, or nearly all, Republicans). And, although admittedly I haven’t looked carefully, I’d assume that many of those who are asking for repeal now are newly elected conservatives (many, if not all, of them Tea Party caucus folks), and they probably always disliked it (I certainly heard objections to it when it was first passed, although, another admission, I didn’t pay very close attention at the time).

    Craven they may be–I’m not sure I’ve seen a Tea Party type who isn’t (a point to which all my Republican friends agree, by the way), but I think their opposition is sincere, even if, perhaps, it is stupid.

    (Actually, what’s truly stupid is hattip’s belief that the public will hold this against Obama or any Democratic candidate for office come election time. The odds of this actually even being remembered as an issue 16 months from now is a bit of a hoot; and to think that real live swing voters will think, “Well, I would have voted Democratic, but you know, I had to pay 8 cents more for lightbulbs, and I’m really pissed off about that, so…” is ROFLMAO hilarious. I want regular updates on hattip’s election projections and analyses so that I have a laugh to start every day for the next year and a half)


  2. James Kessler says:

    Actually, the late to the party comment is more directed at Morgan and his fellow Republicans.

    Sorry, I don’t find it an example of real genuine opposition when said opposition waits near 5 years in the case of the current standards and near 30 years in the case of the original standards to voice their objections. Its not real’s opposition created by a bunch of craven people who have convinced their fellows to oppose the idea now even though they didn’t oppose the idea originally. And why do they oppose it now? Because they think they can hang it around the neck of the President like a 1000 pound weight hanging at the end of a chain. If this wasn’t a year before an election the Republicans would not…would not have any objection to the standards. It’s fake.

    Kind of like how the Republicans now oppose an insurance mandate when they’re the ones that came up with the idea in the first place.

    Kind of like how the Republicans oppose a mosque near 9-11 site when 1: the plans for the mosque have been in the pipelines for several years with no objections and 2: there is already a mosque on the location in question in the first place.

    Kind of like how the Republicans suddenly decided that Saddam Hussein had to go because “he was killing his own people” when quite a lot of that killing of his own people occurred back in the 1980’s and 1990’s and the Republicans didn’t care about it then.


  3. James Hanley says:

    James Kessler,

    As much as we agree, please keep in mind that I also said the conservatives who want to put their energy into repealing this are idiots. We’re actually not as far apart as I think you think.

    As to the “late to the party” comment, I’ll paraphrase my response at my blog: Being late to the party doesn’t mean the party was going in the right direction before I got there. (We’ve all been to that type of party, haven’t we? *grin*)


  4. James Kessler says:

    This is more in response to my fellow James since I replied to Idiots All on his/her own blog:

    And I’m my quoting myself:
    Yeah of course the problem with your contention is that, with regards to lighbulbs, the “coercive power of the state” has been used for 40 years now. So tell me…exactly how did the idea become so unberable now? How did it become so unbearable 5 years, nearly, after the updated standards were introduced with barely any controversy except from my dingbat Congresswoman? And how did it become so unbearable nearly 40 years after Reagan signed off on the original standards with nary a word of complaint?

    A little late to the party don’t you think, James?

    Oh and just to keep Morgan’s mouth shut…I am not calling all who oppose the standards dingbats..when I used that word it is in specific reference to my Congresswoman of whom I have every right to call her a dingbat not to mention other worse things I’ve called her. The next time you want to chide me or Ed or anyone else for our referring to people on your side as fools sometimes you might want to remember certain insults that pass your and your fellow Republicans lips with regular consistency.

    Sorry, the idea that one can wait a few years after something happens and then object to it when its convenient robs the supposed objection of it’s….well…honesty. If we weren’t about to enter an election year…the Republicans never would have brought it up again. And I see no reason to help the Republicans prey on the foolishness and gullibility of the people…again.


  5. […] Ed Darrell mocks “nuts who who are incompetent to shop for light bulbs.” That is just sheer moralism at […]


  6. James Kessler says:

    Yeah I normally criticize businesses pretty heavily. This one however makes more sense to me. It is cheaper for the companies to have to deal with one standard then 50…especially when those 50 would be changing every other year at the whim of who was the majority or not.


  7. James Hanley says:

    James Kessler,

    First, I did not claim that incandescents are banned. I know that they’re not.

    Second, I am in disagreement with nearly all your points. Why would businesses want to avoid a patchwork of state regulations? Because they want to get a lower federal standard to pre-empt higher state standards. So in part their purpose is to avoid making bulbs as energy-efficient as you might really want them to be. But the real question from my perspective is whether any level of government ought to set such a standard, and I say no.

    There is an important distinction between the exploding car and shoddy building materials examples you use, and the case of less efficient lightbulbs. Both of those examples are cases where one person’s actions can directly harm another–I have no more problem with regulating that than I do with regulating the discharge of firearms within city limits, or mandating that I not dump my used motor oil down the storm drain.

    But those are cases of negative externalities, effects that aren’t accounted for in market transactions. The effect of me using more energy is a market effect, and that’s different. If it’s not, then there’s no reason government shouldn’t regulate each and every purchase we make, because each one has some market effect–if I buy more peaches, you might have to pay more for peaches, so should government put a limit on how many peaches I can buy? And even if I use all energy-efficient lightbulbs, there are all kinds of ways I can waste energy. My kids’ favorite is to leave the doors open, so I’m variously heating/cooling the outdoors. Or I could cool my house down to 68 in the summer, instead of only to the mid 70s. Or I could refuse to replace the 100+ year old single-pane windows in my house with new triple-pane argon-filled windows,* or I could refuse to insulate my attic,** or I could refuse to wrap my hot water heater (or I could take three long showers each day so more water has to be heated), or I could refuse to insulate my basement, etc., etc.

    Should government mandate each and every one of those activities? If not, then what makes light bulbs different, so that they are a more legitimate target of regulation? If so, just how far into our lives are you willing to let government reach?

    Energy efficiency is a good thing, which is why I’m working on it in my 140 year old house as quickly as I can afford to. And by itself this law is such small potatoes that I’m not actually seriously concerned with it–that is, it’s certainly not worth my time and energy to lobby against it.

    But the concept of micro-management of consumers’ purchases is disturbing enough that I do find it worth my time to criticize the arguments used to defend the law.

    And as to power companies having to build new power plants, I already covered that. It’s been an issue for a long time now, and power companies have long been encouraging consumers to better energy efficiency by giving away lightbulbs, subsidizing insulation and new windows, and the like, when doing so is more cost-effective than building a new power-generation facility. The market has already shown the capacity to handle that issue, so it’s a little late in the game to argue that it proves government intervention is necessary.

    (*Actually, I’m not refusing to, I just can’t afford to do it yet!)
    (**I’m working on that one!)


  8. James Kessler says:

    So James..if someone wants to be foolish enough to drive a car where the fuel tank is right behind the rear bumper then car companies should make that type of car? If someone wants to drive a car with no seatbelts or airbags or safety considerations of any kind they should be allowed to?

    If a building contractor wants to build a building with shoddy materials they should be allowed to?

    And please don’t claim that person A buying energy inefficient lightbulbs doesn’t effect person B next door. Because of person A’s irresponsibility that means more power plants have to be built…which in this country generally means more coal power plants. Which means more pollution and rising health care costs. And according to an article in my paper today we are apparently at the point where even people who DO have health insurance in this country are forgoing medical care because of the insurance companies success at shifting ever more of the costs on to the shoulders of their “customers.”

    And if we build more nuclear plants to cover the ever greater energy demand in this country..its not like that doesn’t have costs either besides monetary. I and 95% of my family live within 10 miles of one of two nuclear power plants in my state. If that plant does what the nuclear power plant in japan did then I and my family will either be dead extremely quickly or we will die very slowly and very painfully due to increased chances of cancer. And considering in the last ten years I have buried 8 members of my family due to cancer in one form or another I would just as soon not increase the chances of me or the rest of my family doing so.

    This bulls— childish short term thinking that Morgan and his ilk do and would have the rest of us do is going to drive this country into the ground.


  9. James Kessler says:

    God forbid we look down the road to the future instead of focusing on the “me me me me” now which is what Morgan and his ilk want. All short term thinking, no long term planning.


  10. James Kessler says:

    James, the last time I checked, the law doesn’t ban incadescents. It just requires that light bulbs be made more efficient. Like the regulations that require greater fuel efficiency on cars. and its a bit late for the right wing to be kvetching about the standards when 1: they’re the ones that proposed and signed the upgraded standards in the first place and 2: their patron Saint Ronnie Reagan was the one who signed the original standards.

    And yes..we do face an energy crisis in this country. We consume 25% of the world’s energy. At some point in the near future we are going to be facing open conflict with countries like China who are also huge energy consumers. Not to mention the fact that we send a lot of money to a lot of people who hate our guts just so we can get their oil and other resources. It is in our national best interest and national security to start lessening the amount of energy we consume and the amount of money we spend doing it. One doesn’t build a fire escape on a building after its on fire, James.

    And as for relying on the market..sorry..the market may have worked that way at one time..but it no longer does. If the market did what the right says..if it punished failure then both BP and Massey Energy, to name just two, would have been driven into the ground for their respective incompetencies.

    Unless you’re trying to argue that the people of this country can do without electricity then there is no market force that can compel greater energy efficiency.

    And as both Ed and me noted…the companies that make and sell light bulbs have no problems with the fact they requested them.

    But there nitwits like Morgan sit claiming that their “rights” to buy incadescent light bulbs are being infringed…but incadescent light bulbs are not being banned.

    Which is hilarious because these are the same people who say there is no “right” for gays to marry each other.


  11. James Hanley says:

    @James Kessler,

    Your point about a patchwork of state standards is well-taken. But underneath the potential for individual state-standards is, again, that unfortunate reality that we take such government regulation for granted, and only quibble over what level it should be.

    Note Ed’s unfortunate language about “people incompetent to shop for light bulbs and toilets.” That’s a moralistic statement, different in its object, but not different in its motivation, from any other form of moralism that seeks to control others’ behavior. If my neighbor wants to fill his home with 150 watt incandescent light bulbs, it does me no harm. Rather than assume he’s “incompetent to shop for light bulbs,” I’d assume that his preferences are different from mine, and I’d say vive le difference. Granted I’d think he’s weird, and I might even be heard to utter the words, “he’s an idiot,” but that’s hardly a reasonable basis for supporting legislation that forces him to abide by my own personal preferences.


  12. James Hanley says:

    At the risk of offending everyone, may I just say that everyone’s being a bit obtuse here?

    Ed is right that this was a ridiculous waste of time right now. The Republicans weren’t going to win on this; it’s not going to be an effective campaign issue; and it’s just dicking around with piddly little stuff while the debt ceiling issue reaches crisis stages.

    On the other hand, the standards are an inappropriate interference in the markets. We have no national energy crisis that requires federal action, and if energy is scarce enough the price will rise and create incentives to shift to more energy-efficient bulbs. Anybody who doesn’t want more energy efficient bulbs should be free to waste their own money. If energy producers find a need to reduce their customers’ usage they can offer incentives to shift to energy-efficiency in various ways (they already do this, offering free CFLs, helping pay for insulation, energy-efficient windows, etc.).

    I say that as someone who has replaced most of the bulbs in my house with CFLs and am looking forward to the day when I can start using LEDs.

    The idea that every thing that is a good idea ought to be a required action is, frankly, disturbing.


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Ruth, I’d agree — but it’s just another symptom. Why are the House and Senate not spending time on curing deficits? Because the same nuts who who are incompetent to shop for light bulbs or toilets insist that the only way to cut deficits is to ruin the credit of the U.S., and so they refuse to approve a debt ceiling increase . . . which will explode our deficits (but they refuse to hear that), in hopes that the government will have to get rid of Social Security and Medicaid, and other social programs that they think are unnecessary.

    Buffoons. Dangerous buffoons. Remember the clown in Stephen King’s It? They are that kind of clown, eating our children, causing terror, all while looking silly.


  14. James Kessler says:


    The lighting efficiency standards begin phasing in next January. The lighting industry, which didn’t want a patchwork of state standards, advised Congress on drafting the legislative language and signed off on the final product. The wording requires bulbs to be 28 percent more efficient than conventional bulbs, which waste 90 percent of their input energy on heat throwoff. The law doesn’t care what technology manufacturers use to meet the standards.

    Gee…I wonder why the industry wouldn’t want a patchwork of state standards.

    Oh wait…that’s because a patchwork of state standards actually makes it more expensive for them to do business. Hm, if you were running a business which would you rather have….to make a product that has to meet one standard..or one that has to meet 50 standards?

    The Republican party: Anti-business since


  15. Ruth says:

    It’s disheartening how much time is being spent argueing over lightbulbs while the deficit continues to grow.


  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Their cards are on the table?

    You mean, they know they’re going to lose our future?

    That makes the entire enterprise much more sinister.


  17. jdstripes says:

    If the Republicans are playing cards, is it really gambling when they all show on the table?


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, HT. We know the Republicans were looking for a reason to do this dance:

    There’s really no gracious way to decribe the Nero-publicans’ fiddling while the nation burns (literally, in the cases of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico). We need leaders, but in the Republicans we get gamblers instead.

    You think this will be an election issue? The relatively business-biased Liberty Mutual site has a slightly different take — few people know or care:

    But aside from its opponents, it seems that most people don’t actually know about the impending change. According to Osram Sylvania’s latest Socket Survey, only 19 percent of people knew about the 100-watt phase-out; a figure that’s only up 1 percent from a 2009 survey, according to USA Today. IKEA also commissioned a survey of 1,011 people conducted by Harris Interactive, which found that 61 percent of people are not aware of the U.S. legislation. (IKEA claims to be the first retailer to completely eliminate incandescents from its shelves, and now only sells compact fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs and halogen lamps.)

    The federal government is hoping the key to acceptance is changing the way people think about energy efficient bulbs, according to this article. This means a rollout this summer of new labels for the bulbs – like those on packaged foods – with lumens, a measure of brightness, being the number to look for. Instead of 100-watt bulbs, you might look for a 1500-lumen bulb instead. And while early fluorescent users complained of bluish light, you can look for the number 2700K to match the warmth of a traditional incandescent.

    Some are speculating that the looming ban – like phase-outs in Europe and Australia – will have consumers hoarding their 100-watt bulbs, or even create a black market for the retro bulbs.

    Did you know about the phase-out? And if so, are you planning on hoarding your 100-watt bulbs, Elaine Benes-style, in a closet? Or will you be an early adopter of the energy savers? Weigh in here.

    LIberty Mutual’s blog is called the Responsibility Project. I predict Republicans and Tea Partiers will be afraid to go there, just because of the name.

    Time to grow up, Hattip, for you and the erstwhile conservatives.


  19. Hattip says:

    Golly you are obtuse. The Republicans set it up procedurally so it would not pass.
    They want to have this ban around next year as a glaring example of Democrat stupidity and tyranny: The Nanny State shining n EVERYONE’s face.

    The voters HATE that ban. HATE, HATE, HATE IT!. And they HATE the overreach of government here. They HATE it when enviro loonies and fascists tell them that they know what is best for “the masses”.

    They know that we need to make MORE ENERGY and LOTS OF IT! This is what all civilizations have done through out history They know that “conservations” is baloney. They now t is just anther huslte for more government power.

    For the Democrats to vote to uphold this will just be one more nail n Obama’s political coffin. More over, anger over this may be enough to keep the same GOP seats in the House we have now in 2012

    But to imagine that this ban is about “energy conservation” standards” is just preposterous. American’s know EXACTLY what t is about.

    What a clueless tool you are. Democrats are in for some shocks next year. as election day rolls around. Can you really be so stupid as to not see what this ban wll do to your party?


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