CBS ‘Early Show’ Touts ‘Historic’ Energy Bill

The Democrats were finally able to get something passed in Congress, a new energy bill that mandates car gas mileage and bans the incandescent light bulb, and on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen described it as, "Congress's historic move to get rid of gas guzzlers." Co-host Harry Smith began the "historic" theme at the top of the show:

Later this morning, the president will sign a new energy bill, that will radically change the way we drive, the fuel we burn, and the way we light our homes...This morning for the first time in 32 years we will have a new energy bill. The Energy Independence and Security Act.

No one objected to the idea that everyday light bulbs would be banned with this new legislation. Instead Smith joked holding up a light bulb: "So guess what, will we see the end of the incandescent light bulb? Remember, was it Uncle Fester who put it in and it lit up?"

In a later report by CBS Correspondent Bill Plante the bill is once again depicted as progress:

It's the first change in the mileage standards since bell bottoms and tie dye, 32 years ago. The bill requires automakers to increase fuel efficiency to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Its sponsors claim that it will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year and reduce U.S. oil consumption by four million barrels a day over the next 22 years.

Plante also made mention of the fate of the light bulb: "New energy standards for buildings and appliances will mean that the old style incandescent light bulb will just about disappear by 2020." I didn’t realize that the light bulbs most people use today to light their homes were "old style."

Plante also discussed the compromise involved in the legislation:

Democrats didn't get everything they wanted, like a rollback of tax breaks for Big Oil...But neither did the president get all that he wanted...Democrats wanted more money for wind and solar power, and for conservation. Republicans would have preferred to have more oil, and gas, and coal production in the U.S.

Finally, at the end of Plante’s report, Chen suggested for the first time that the legislation "Sounds controversial."

Here is the full transcript:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Later this morning, the president will sign a new energy bill, that will radically change the way we drive, the fuel we burn, and the way we light our homes.

7:01AM TEASER:

SMITH: This morning for the first time in 32 years we will have a new energy bill. The Energy Independence and Security Act. So guess what, will we see the end of the incandescent light bulb? Remember, was it Uncle Fester who put it in and it lit up?

JULIE CHEN: I don't remember that episode, but I trust your knowledge. Dave Price says yes, so, we're going to go with yes.

SMITH: Dave Price says yes and who would know better?

CHEN: Watched too much TV as a kid, right?

7:02AM SEGMENT:

JULIE CHEN: But first, Congress's historic move to get rid of gas guzzlers. Here's CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, Bill Plante. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Julie. The bill that the president will sign today says that you're supposed to be able to drive a lot farther on a gallon of gas by the year 2020. But it calls for so much ethanol that the price of corn and food could skyrocket. It's the first change in the mileage standards since bell bottoms and tie dye, 32 years ago. The bill requires automakers to increase fuel efficiency to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Its sponsors claim that it will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year and reduce U.S. oil consumption by four million barrels a day over the next 22 years. It calls for a huge increase in the use of ethanol. From 6 billion gallons a year now to 36 billion by 2022. Most of that is supposed to come from sources other than corn. But there's still concern that ethanol production has already driven corn and food prices to new highs. New energy standards for building and appliances will mean that the old style incandescent light bulb will just about disappear by 2020. Democrats didn't get everything they wanted, like a rollback of tax breaks for Big Oil.

HARRY REID: By blocking tax incentives in renewable energy and standards to supply clean renewable electricity, Republicans missed a chance to grow our new clean energy industries and build new century jobs.

PLANTE: But neither did the president get all that he wanted.

DANA PERINO: While the president's alternative fuel standard and CAFÉ proposal would have gone farther and faster. We are pleased that Congress has worked together on a bipartisan way--

PLANTE: Democrats wanted more money for wind and solar power, and for conservation. Republicans would have preferred to have more oil, and gas, and coal production in the U.S. And no one is sure just whether this huge increase in ethanol will actually work, or how much it will cost. Julie.

JULIE CHEN: Sounds controversial. CBS's Bill Plante at the White House, thanks Bill.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC