Whether they decided they had more important things to worry about than saving the inefficient lightbulb, or whether they were scared of enraging the ghost of Thomas Edison, House members put the kibosh on a bill that would have repealed lightbulb efficiency standards.

A majority of House members (including five Democrats) actually supported repeal, but sponsor Rep. Joe Barton was trying to get it passed under expedited rules, which require a two-thirds majority and no amendments. Hastiness, and lack of committee process, seems to have harmed the bill's support. Barton had said he was confident that he could get at least 40 Democrats to vote for his bill, but he got only five. Instead, one of the Republican cosponsors, Rep. Rob Bishop, jumped ship and voted "present" (essentially an abstention).

Bishop withdrew support because he said the bill would trump states' rights to enact efficiency standards — "If states want to do something stupid, they should be able to do something stupid." That actually sums up the whole bill pretty well. The standards that Barton is opposing would require bulb manufacturers to make products that would lower people's energy costs, saving $6 billion a year, but Barton feels that people should be able to do something stupid (and expensive) if they want to. Which they can — nobody's saying inefficient bulbs will be banned — but if there are cheaper energy-saving bulbs available, why would stores stock the expensive kind? It's like there's some kind of market that would freely shut out old-style bulbs if better ones were available! IT MUST BE STOPPED.

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