THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 2011 President Launches China Defense in Early Days of Solyndra Debacle

October 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In an interview with ABC News on October 3, 2011, President Obama made his first public comments on the Solyndra bankruptcy, launching the administration’s China defense in attempting to explain away the failed $535 million loan guarantee to the California solar manufacturer. He said, “If we want to compete with China, which is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the space, if we want to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidizing the industries of the future, we’ve got to make sure that our guys here in the United States of America at least have a shot.”

However, the president’s China defense was cited two years prior by a senior OMB official as a reason to postpone Solyndra’s loan guarantee, rather than rush to push $535 million in taxpayer dollars out the door. Committee investigators discovered that in August 2009, as the White House was rushing to finalize Solyndra’s loan guarantee in time for a public event with the Vice President and Energy Secretary, the OMB Energy Chief sounded the alarm on China as a reason to delay, writing, “Recent developments in the solar market, in particular, pricing pressure from China from silicon wafer plants scheduled to come on line . . . raise concerns about how strong Solyndra’s position will be in the face of rising competition.” (The Solyndra Failure, footnote 274)

The Obama White House ignored warnings about the consequences of Chinese subsidies that the president and others in the administration now vigorously cite as a leading factor for Solyndra’s demise. Further clouding the administration’s stance on energy competition with China, others in the administration were subsidizing the Chinese solar power industry, in violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, even as Solyndra and other failing firms were being propped up in the face of that competition.

Watch President Obama’s 10/3/11 Interview on ABC News HERE.


Watch President Obama repeatedly sound the alarm on China HERE.

To view more on the committee’s Solyndra investigation, click HERE.