U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann

An act sponsored by 25 representatives asking the government to reconsider its ban on incandescent light bulbs has been stalled in committee – and the leading sponsor is faulting Democratic leadership.

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act highlights growing concerns over the safety and environmental impact of compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs. Before the sale of incandescent bulbs is banned, the representatives are asking the comptroller general to prove replacement with CFLs will be cost-effective, reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent in the United States by 2025 and that the bulbs will not pose a health risk to the general public.

However, the act has been delayed in the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality since March 14 – more than six months. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., leading sponsor of the legislation, told WND Democrats are not concerned about pushing the act through.

“The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, H.R. 5616, is currently collecting dust in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, held up by Democrat leadership that refuses to make this legislation a priority,” Bachmann said. “The Democrat leadership fills the congressional schedule with naming post offices and ends the work week early rather than do the people’s business.”

She continued, “They don’t want to take up the real issues that make a difference in people’s lives because those issues require them to make tough choices.”

As WND reported, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law in December, phasing out the use of traditional, incandescent light bulbs in favor of CFLs beginning in 2012 and culminating in a ban on incandescent bulbs in 2014.

Concerns about mercury in the bulbs and mercury vapor released when a CFL is broken led Bachmann and a group of legislators in the House to second-guess the government’s choice.

“Each light bulb contains between 3-6 milligrams of mercury,” Bachmann said earlier in an MSNBC interview. “There’s a question about how that mercury will fill up our landfills, and also if you break one in your home, you’ll have mercury that instantaneously vaporizes in your home. That poses a very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens. And I just think it’s very important that Americans have the choice to decide, would they like an incandescent or a (CFL)?”

Bachmann introduced the bill in March because, she said, she thought Congress had “acted a bit prematurely” in taking a popular environmentalist cause and making it a government dictate. She told WND Democrats want control, and forcing Americans to buy CFLs is just one more way to interfere with their daily choices.

“The light bulb ban exposes the Democrat mindset,” she said. “They want to limit consumer choice and tell American families what products they can and can’t buy.

“The light bulbs they are forcing on American families are not new,” she continued. “Consumers have just been rejecting them for a variety of reasons: cost, aesthetics, health and environment concerns. At a time when hard-working taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing they need is to have the government forcing them to purchase a more expensive and potentially unsafe product.”

Following the introduction of H.R. 5616, the bill was sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and then sent to the Subcommittee on Energy & Air Quality, where it has languished without action or a hearing for since March. But Bachmann has not given up.

She said, “This act is important because the American people deserve the ability to choose what products they purchase for their homes and families.”


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