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Public Statements

Better Use of Lightbulbs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, the chairman spoke to the cost of these bulbs and how incredibly expensive they are; and, indeed, our constituents have talked about that.

And to my colleagues who are going to try to support this standard and this de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb, I would simply say two wrongs do not make a right. I know you heard that as you grew up, and I would ask you to think about that in this Chamber today.

Putting this ban, putting these higher efficiency standards in place, many people thought it was the right decision. I didn't think it was the right decision. I voted against it in committee. I voted against all of this on the floor.

But I would ask you just to remember the American people are telling us this doesn't work. They don't like the restrictions that are there in the marketplace. They don't like the fact that the bulbs cost too much money.

And I would also remind my colleagues that all of the CFLs, the compact fluorescent light bulbs, they are made in China. They are not made here. The CFLs don't work as well. It requires more bulbs to get the same amount of light in a given area. These things have proven to be very vulnerable to power surges. We hear that from our constituents in the rural areas.

In essence, Madam Speaker, they don't save any energy, and we know that they are also dangerous because they are filled with mercury. I know that Congressman Burgess, who has also worked on this with Chairman Barton and me, is going to speak to that. There is a provision in this that does address the mercury levels.

Also, our legislation says, and I think this is very important, that D.C. cannot mandate the standards on these bulbs, that your State government cannot mandate the standards on these bulbs, that we are going to leave that to the consumer to choose. And consumers want to have that choice.

I think so many groups have come out in favor of our legislation and opposed to these light bulbs, even the AFL-CIO has an interesting little bit on their labor union Web site about that light bulb, making the point that there are many ways to save electricity without shifting all these jobs to China for a mercury-filled light bulb.

We know that the President thought this was going to help create 800,000 U.S. jobs. The only jobs we have found is that the Winchester, Virginia, plant shut down and those 200 jobs, employees that lost their jobs on September 24, 2010, they saw their jobs go to China.

There have been unanticipated consequences of the 2007 act, and it is time for us to say it was bad policy, it was a bad idea, and we need to get it off the books.

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