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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURGESS. The passage in this House back in 2007 of the Energy Independence and Security Act was something that has caused a great deal of difficulty across the country. I have heard from tens of thousands of my constituents on how that language will affect their lives and take away consumer choice for what kind of light bulbs they will use in their home. Mr. Chairman, they are exactly right.

When the government passed energy efficiency standards in other realms over the years, they never went as far as they did this time. They lowered standards drastically. It's now to a point where the technology is, honestly, years off in making light bulbs that are compliant with the law and actually affordable by the consumer.

Light bulb companies have talked about their new bulbs that are compliant with the existing law and that are available now, but at what price? A four-pack of 100-watt incandescent bulbs in my district cost $2.97 at a hardware store last December 31. Now a single bulb will cost $20, $30, $40--even $50.

Opponents to my amendment say that the 2007 language does not ban the incandescent bulb. Well, that's partly true, but it bans the sale of the 100-watt incandescent bulb, and soon the 60-watt and 45-watt bulbs will follow suit because they cannot meet the energy standards supplied in the underlying legislation. The replacement bulbs are far from economically efficient, if indeed they are energy efficient.

But here's the deal. We shouldn't be making these decisions for the American people. Let them decide how much energy they want to consume and how many dollars they want to spend on kilowatt hours every month, not the Federal Government. A family living paycheck-to-paycheck can't afford to replace every bulb in their house at $25 a pop, even if it will last them 20 years.

This exact amendment was passed last year on this appropriations bill by a voice vote. It was signed into law by President Obama. It allows consumers to continue to have a choice and a say as to what they put in their homes. It's common sense. Let's give some relief to American families, at least until replacement light bulbs can be marketed at a price that is reasonable.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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