Rejoice: Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Suspended

Posted: Dec 16, 2011 9:54 AM

As part of last night's omnibus budget bill which prevented government shutdown, Republicans won a small victory: they suspended the incandescent light bulb ban. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle bowed to widespread public pressure, as the American people made it clear they weren't interested in this literal government intrusion into their livingrooms.

Congressional Republicans dropped almost all of the policy restrictions they tried to attach to the bill, but won inclusion of the light bulb provision, which prevents the Obama administration from carrying through a 2007 law that would have set energy efficiency standards that effectively made the traditional light bulb obsolete.

The bill doesn’t actually amend the 2007 law, but does prohibit the administration from spending any money to carry out the light bulb standards — which amounts to at least a temporary reprieve.

The bill defunded the Department of Energy's ability to implement the light bulb reforms, so technically, another battle over the light bulbs looms in the coming year. But it appears a permanent amendment to the light bulb ban could happen in the future; apparently, the Senate wasn't terrifically opposed to the bill's light bulb rider:

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Interior and environment appropriations subcommittee, said Senate opposition to the light bulb provisions had up to this point been minimal.

"Amazing, isn't it?" he said. "They objected to all the other EPA riders and stuff. That was the instructions from the White House. But apparently the light bulb ones didn't bother them too much."

So the ban's future is technically uncertain; but on the bright side (ha), Americans may, for now, continue to bask in the glow of a standard 60-watt.