‘What are you thinking?’ Rep. Miller asks GOP

While conservatives lambast as the height of nannyism that bipartisan law mandating we use energy efficient lightbulbs, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, turned his laser spotlight on the Democrats’ successful move today to squash the GOP’s effort to repeal the rule.

Seriously? This is what Congress is doing today when all we read in the news is about how President Obama, congressional and senate leaders are at an impasse over lifting the federal debt ceiling, deficit reduction and the possibility that the U.S. could stop paying its bills? Well, perhaps we could stop paying the light bill …

Here’s what Miller says in his news release:

Washington, DC – Energy efficient light bulbs, and the benefits they offer to consumers and the environment, have lived to shine another day after the House of Representatives voted down a GOP bill to kill a 2007 law that requires light bulbs to be more energy efficient.

Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) called on Republicans to once and for all stop playing politics with the economic future of Middle Class Americans and focus instead on efforts to create jobs and grow the economy right now.

“Congress has a lot of serious work to do — to help create jobs, tackle the long-term budget deficit, and bring our troops home from battle,” Miller said. “But instead of dealing with these critical challenges, this week the Tea Party Republicans in the House walked out on the White House debt talks and instead brought up a bill to make light bulbs waste more energy.

“What are they thinking?

“Four years ago we passed a simple bi-partisan law signed by a Republican president to require that light bulbs become more energy efficient, just as we have done in the past with appliances, air conditioners, and automobiles. But now, we’re wasting precious time debating a proposal to waste precious energy. Making light bulbs more energy efficient is good for the consumer, good for the economy, and good for the environment.

“The House leadership should focus its attention on the most important issue before this congress – job creation. Job creation, not light bulb shenanigans, should be priority number one.”

The Republican bill, H.R. 2417, would have repealed new federal energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 with bipartisan support.

The new lighting standards will save the average American family over $100 every year – up to $15 billion nationwide – and they have already encouraged the growth of the lighting industry. Nationally, more than 2,000 jobs have already been created at new lighting factories.

Opponents of the standards claimed that the law banned traditional inefficient incandescent light bulbs. That is false. In fact, the lighting industry is in favor of the new standards, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association opposes the Republican bill.

The standards will also reduce mercury and carbon pollution, which will improve public health. The standards will prevent more than 100 million tons of carbon pollution per year—the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road and avoiding the need for 30 large power plants.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen