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Those fears have produced a backlash.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry last month signed a bill letting any bulb manufactured and sold in Texas skirt the federal standards. The federal law relies on Congress‘ authority to control interstate commerce to impose the new efficiency standards.

Cost is also an issue. Supporters of incandescent bulbs say they can be bought for less than 50 cents - while new bulbs can cost $6. Environmentalists, though, say the new bulbs can last 10 times longer and are up to 75 percent more efficient, so they pay off in the long run.

The Natural Resources Defense Council produced statements from four descendants of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent bulb, who all said it’s time to get past their famous relative’s bright idea.

“The technology changes. Embrace it,” said Robert Wheeler, grandnephew of the inventor.

Democrats said the GOP had made a major about-face on efficiency standards. Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, co-sponsored the 2007 bill that ushered in the new bulbs, and the measure was signed into law by President George W. Bush, also a Republican.

Mr. Upton is now chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and one of his key promises to fellow House Republicans was that he would push to repeal the 2007 law.