WASHINGTON, January 8 -

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Mr. Speaker,

It is a new year. As the clock struck midnight, Americans throughout the fruited plain celebrated the end of 2013 and the start of a new year.

January 1 – out with the old and in with the new – light bulb, so sayeth Uncle Sam. That is right: “turn out the lights, the party’s over” for the incandescent light bulb.

I went to H-E-B last week in Texas and the shelves were bare. Only curly fluorescent light bulbs to be found. That is because the government has now banned 75 -, 100 -, 60-, and 40-watt light bulbs.

Edison’s light bulb has gone from the endangered species list to near extinction. Some incandescent light bulbs will be allowed, but only if they meet new government standards. What was once the symbol for American innovation is now banned by the almighty government. Isn’t that ironic?

Why? Because it is not energy efficient, so sayeth the government. Isn’t that ironic?

Why? Because it is not energy efficient, so sayeth the government. The government certainly doesn’t want Americans to have a choice with what light bulbs they purchase because the government knows best.

The new fluorescent curly light bulbs, also called CFLs, contain mercury and also are more expensive. Mr. Speaker, I thought mercury was bad for us.

Anyway, nothing gets easier when you use these light bulbs. Do you need to dispose of one of these curly light bulbs? Don’t even think about throwing it in the trash without reading the instructions in the box. Don’t throw them in the wastebasket. You are supposed to take them to a local recycling center. Yeah, right.

If a person decides to take the risk and throw the light bulb out at home, listen closely, because, of course, it is more complicated. The light bulb should be sealed in two plastic bags and then placed in the trash outdoors so as not to pollute landfills if it breaks.

There are more regulations. If a CFL is dropped well, disaster strikes, in my opinion. You can’t just pick up the pieces and throw them away. The EPA has generously told us in more detailed instructions what we do if one is broken: “Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the area.”

So, Mr. Speaker, if I accidentally drop this light bulb here on the House floor and it breaks, does that mean we have to evacuate the House floor? According to the EPA, at least we should do that.

I give you more: “Open a window” – don’t have any in here – “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.” Mr. Speaker, I hope you have some of those old mason jars around here.

There is more. The EPA says: “Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipes and place them in a glass jar or plastic bag. DO not use a vacuum or broom.” Next thing you know, we are going to need a HAZMAT crew to come in to someone’s home if they accidentally drop a light bulb.

There is a lot more: “These light bulbs may cause interference to radios, televisions, wireless headphones and remote controls.” Okay, I will be sure to turn off the lights tonight when I watch “Duck Dynasty.” I don’t want to miss it because I have these curly light bulbs.

I forgot to mention – guess where these little spiral light bulbs are made? China. Now isn’t that lovely?

The power of choice has been taken away from the American people, even the choice of a light bulb, because government is controlling our lives and it knows better. The Federal Government should not have the authority to force Americans to buy anything, whether it is health care, a box of donuts, or even CFL light bulbs.

As Willie Nelson has said: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end. Turn out the lights, the party’s over” for at least Thomas Edison’s light bulb.

May it rest in peace, Mr. Speaker.

And that’s just the way it is.

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