By SEAN COLLINS WALSH, The New York Times
WASHINGTON â€” House Republicans on Tuesday failed to advance a measure that would repeal regulations that increase efficiency standards for light bulbs, rules that they have assailed as an example of government overreach.
â€œThe 2010 elections demonstrated that Americans are fed up with government intrusion,â€ Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who proposed the repeal, said in a debate on Monday. â€œThe federal government has crept so deep into our lives that federal agencies now determine what kind of light bulbs the American people are allowed to purchase.â€
But Democrats, despite being in the minority in the House, were able to defeat the repeal on a vote of 233 to 193 because the measure was brought up under rules that require a two-thirds majority for passage.
The Democratic whip, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said Republicans were wrong to propose the repeal at a time when Congress should be focusing on creating jobs and on the debt-limit negotiations. â€œBy bringing misguided bills like this one to the floor instead of a comprehensive jobs plan, it is clear that House Republicans are still in the dark,â€ Mr. Hoyer said in a statement titled â€œNot the Brightest Idea.â€
The first stage of the standards, which will be phased in from Jan. 1 through 2014, requires bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient. The second stage could require bulbs to be 60 percent more efficient by 2020. The law includes exceptions for specialty lights, like candelabra lamps, three-way bulbs and black lights.
The restrictions could eliminate the familiar incandescent bulbs, which have used essentially the same technology since Thomas Alva Edison invented them.
Republicans have also said the new types of bulbs are too expensive. Prices range from about $1.50 for a halogen incandescent to $20 for light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs, which are supposed to last 10 years. Regular bulbs today cost about 35 cents.
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