The No More Solyndras Act
On Tuesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced a bill called the “No More Solyndras Act.” As one might guess from the name, the bill was inspired by President Obama’s marqee “green energy” disaster, which the House Energy and Commerce Committee applied considerable effort to investigating.
The Act will phase out the Energy Department loan guarantee program that gave us Solyndra and so many other green energy bankruptcies. During the remaining life of the program, DOE would be required to report to Congress on the decision-making process behind each loan, producing a report with 60 days of issuing each guarantee that would detail the terms of the guarantee, the exact reason it was issued by the Energy Secretary, and precisely how the recipient proposes to use the funds.
Significantly, the No More Solyndras Act specifies that the Energy Secretary “shall not subordinate the interests of the United States Government to any other financing for the project.” That’s how taxpayers got burned so badly on Solyndra. When Obama’s pet solar company was hitting the skids, private investors were attracted with promises their repayment would be prioritized over the interests of the taxpayers in the event of bankruptcy.
Restructuring of DOE loans will be made to require consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, which is more comforting in theory than in practice, because the current Treasury Secretary is this guy:
“Our investigation has uncovered a number of disturbing truths behind DOE’s loan guarantee program, ground zero of the Obama administration’s failed stimulus,” said Chairman Upton upon release of the bill. “Billions of dollars were hastily pushed out the door, with the Obama administration more worried about sending press releases announcing stimulus projects than if the projects were worthy and would create jobs. Sadly, the bankruptcies are starting to pile up. If oversight is done well, it should result in good legislation, and that is what we have in the ‘No More Solyndras Act.’ Our legislative fix will give taxpayers the peace of mind that such a disaster like Solyndra will never happen again.”
“The Obama DOE’s stimulus record is littered with failure, and it is American taxpayers who are paying the price,” added Chairman Stearns. “Our ‘No More Solyndras Act’ will ensure taxpayers are no longer vulnerable to the Obama administration’s game of crony capitalism. Our investigation discovered that despite repeated warnings by Obama’s own experts at DOE and OMB, a half billion dollars for Solyndra was rushed out the door, and when Solyndra was out of cash, the administration doubled down and restructured the risky loan, putting the solar company’s wealthy investors ahead of taxpayers. Our ‘No More Solyndras Act’ puts American taxpayers first – something the Obama administration failed to do when it rushed to spend billions of dollars, no matter what the consequences.”
It’s increasingly unclear why American needs an Energy Department that spends most of its time interfering with the efficient generation of energy, but even if DOE must endure, we most certainly don’t need any more Solyndras.