Late last year, Republican Congressman Fred Upton, who co-sponsored the infamous ban on the current generation of inexpensive incandescent light bulbs included in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, was desperate to secure conservative support for his bid to become Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the same committee in which he had introduced the despised ban three years earlier. He therefore promised that one of his first acts would be to advance legislation that would repeal the very light bulb ban he had once championed.
Upton’s ploy succeeded, and in January of this year, Speaker of the House John Boehner named Upton to his treasured chairmanship. More than four months later, Upton has not held the promised hearings. Several dozen members of the House, including Joe Barton, Michele Bachmann, and Thad McCotter, have co-sponsored legislation to repeal the ban, so there’s plenty of support for it among true conservatives. And since the ban on the current generation of 100 watt incandescent bulbs is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2012, prompt action is required. There are only six and a half months left!
Journalist Virginia Postrel recently wrote that the Republican leadership in the House has no intention of actually repealing the incandescent light bulb ban, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s a different matter in the Senate, where the Republicans are in the minority. The Senate held hearings back in March, but despite a few rumors to the contrary, there’s no indication that the House, where Congressman Upton controls the path, will hold hearings.
That this ban is an egregious violation of free market capitalism is beyond dispute. I document this case in my new e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, which will be released next month.
Howard Brandston, the internationally recognized lighting expert who wrote another e-book for our series on this topic, The Disastrous Light Bulb Ban, was not invited to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee when it passed this ridiculous ban back in 2007. In fact, no one who opposed the ban was asked to testify back then. The Senate wisely corrected this error when it invited Mr. Brandston to testify when it held hearings on repealing the ban in March of this year.
You can read the rest of this article at Broadside Books' "Line of Fire" here.