Stimulus Loan Program that Financed Now-Bankrupt Solyndra Ends September 30th - $10 Billion out of $18 Billion in Guarantees Yet to be Awarded as New Questions Emerge About Whether Taxpayers are Protected
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) today called attention to the more than $10 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees yet to be finalized by the September 30, 2011 stimulus deadline. Of the $18 billion in loan guarantees for which stimulus funding is available, the Obama administration has closed just over $8 billion since the stimulus was signed into law in February 2009. Given the failure of the program’s flagship guarantee to Solyndra, Committee leaders are concerned that DOE will rush to dole out the remaining $10 billion in loan guarantees in the next three weeks, especially in light of media reports that the President is poised to push for even more funding for “green jobs.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s six-month investigation into the highly publicized loan guarantee continues despite partisan roadblocks by Committee Democrats and repeated pushback, protest, and misleading claims on Solyndra’s viability by administration officials and company executives. Full Committee Chairman Upton and Oversight Chairman Stearns last week expanded the Committee’s investigation and are now seeking additional documents and information from the White House regarding Solyndra. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has also scheduled a hearing on the Solyndra loan guarantee next Wednesday, September 14, 2011.
Stearns issued the following statement:
“Now-bankrupt Solyndra was the flagship loan and a hallmark of the Obama administration’s ill-fated jobs program, repeatedly trumpeted as a stimulus success story. Conventional wisdom suggests the first loan guarantee should be the strongest, most viable candidate for support. Here we are just days from the program expiring and with new evidence coming to light about the initial loan going bust, yet more than half of the guarantees, over $10 billion worth, have yet to be awarded. Taxpayers could already be on the hook for the half billion dollar Solyndra loan. With $10 billion still on the shelf, the last thing we can afford from the Obama administration are more of the same sloppy, poor investments in the final rush to get the cash out the door. As he prepares to address the nation Thursday night, we all hope President Obama has learned from the Solyndra debacle and that we won’t see a repeat of the same failed approach.”
According to the Department of Energy website, of the approximately $18 billion in guaranteed loans made available by the stimulus bill under section 1705, approximately $8 billion has been guaranteed. DOE has also conditionally committed to an additional 16 projects totaling over $10 billion in guaranteed loans, but the guarantees have yet to be finalized. DOE would need to close each of the 16 loans by September 30, 2011.
Solyndra was awarded the first stimulus DOE loan in the Spring of 2009 and has been widely promoted as a stimulus jobs “success story” ever since, with President Obama visiting the plant in May 2010. Commencing in February 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the DOE’s $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra. Committee Democrats have continually refused to cooperate, instead protesting investigative efforts at every opportunity. The Committee was forced to issue a subpoena to the Obama OMB on July 14, 2011, for documents related to approving the Credit Subsidy Costs of all DOE loan guarantees. Every Democrat on the Oversight Subcommittee opposed issuing the subpoena.
Despite missing the subpoena’s July 22, 2011, deadline, OMB has since produced, and continues to produce, hundreds of pages of documents relating to the Solyndra loan guarantee and the restructuring of that agreement just this year.
For a timeline of the Energy and Commerce Committee Investigation into the Solyndra loan click HERE