Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
WASHINGTON, DC -- Madam Speaker, Congress passed an energy bill which should have been called the Anti-American non-Energy Bill, because it punishes Americans for using energy, rather than finding new sources of affordable energy. But the bill does one thing, Madam Speaker: it controls the type of light bulbs that all Americans must use throughout our fruited plains.
Congress's energy bill bans incandescent light bulbs by 2014, and requires Americans to buy compact fluorescent bulbs. Those are called CFLs. Now we can say goodbye to Thomas Edison's incandescent bulb and his invention.
Madam Speaker, I have a Constitution here and, like most members of Congress, I carry it with me. I've read it through and through, but I don't see anywhere in the U.S. Constitution that it gives the government the power to control the type of light bulbs used in Dime Box, Texas, or any other place in the United States. Besides the lack of constitutional authority, let me discuss these light bulbs further.
Nothing in Congress seems to be easy, and that phrase is certainly true with these CFL light bulbs. These light bulbs contain mercury, so they have to be disposed of in a certain way. According to EPA rules, you're supposed to take them to a local recycling center. Thanks to Congress, nothing is easy. If you throw them out at home, you're supposed to seal the bulb in two plastic bags and place them in the outside trash; otherwise, the bulb may break and pollute the landfill, of all things.
CFLs are made of glass, so they're fragile. If one breaks it or drops it, you have to follow simple rules, thanks to Congress. And according to the EPA, here's what you do if you break one of these light bulbs, and I quote. "Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the area.'' We must evacuate the room, Madam Speaker.
I continue. "Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or
more. Shut off the central heating and air conditioning system. Carefully
scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and
place them in a glass jar with a metal lid.'' Obviously, that's readily
I continue to quote. "Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel
or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Do not use a vacuum or a broom.''
If you break a light bulb in a high rise where the windows don't open, will the EPA light bulb police haul us off to jail because of improper disposal procedures?
If I dropped this light bulb I'm holding, we would have to evacuate the House of Representatives, according to the EPA light bulb law. Have we gone a bit too far with this nonsense?
Thanks to Congress, we're making what is simple very difficult. And besides, these light bulbs are expensive, and using them may fade photographs on the wall.
Now, Madam Speaker, I'm going to carefully remove one of these light bulbs from a box that contains all these warnings on the outside. And this is one of those CFL light bulbs that Congress is requiring all Americans to use by 2014.
There's more to the requirements of using these. It says here, and I quote, "These light bulbs may cause interference to radios, televisions, wireless telephones and remote controls.'' Now we're in trouble for Monday Night Football because we're going to have to turn out the lights so there's no interference with our TV.
We can also thank Congress for giving more money to China. This light bulb, it says right here, with all the warnings on it, is "Made in China." And Madam Speaker, they are only "Made in China." They're not made in the United States. We import every one of these things.
Over the past year, we've seen Chinese pet food kill our dogs and cats; Chinese lead paint poison our children, and now Chinese light bulbs containing mercury that can be harmful to our health. Doesn't this bother anybody?
Meanwhile, gasoline nears $4 a gallon, and Congress still has no energy plan except, "Turn on these light bulbs."
Oh, I yearn for the day when America took care of Americans by developing our own abundant natural resources like coal and natural gas and crude oil to provide affordable energy to America. But those days have gone the way of Edison's incandescent light bulb. We might as well turn out the lights, the party's over. And that's just the way it is.
May 13, 2008.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) is the representative of the 2nd congressional district of Texas. The 2nd Congressional District stretches east from northern Harris County, through Liberty County, and encompasses all of Jefferson County to the southeast Texas border. Vital seaports, suburban communities, petrochemical plants and fertile farmland (including the cities of Spring, Humble, Beaumont, and Port Arthur) all lie within this diverse district.