House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) marked the second anniversary of the stimulus bill by seeking answers from the Department of Energy (DOE) on its inaugural $535 million stimulus loan guarantee awarded in March of 2009. Solyndra, Inc. of Fremont, California, was the first recipient of a DOE stimulus loan; the highly publicized award was to finance construction of a new manufacturing facility for solar panels that was expected to create thousands of jobs. Since the announcement, the firm has proceeded to close one of its factories, lay off workers, and postpone the expansion of the very plant that had received the loan guarantee, cancelling the hiring of an additional 1,000 workers. Upton issued the following statement:
"In the two years since the stimulus was signed into law, we've hemorrhaged 1.8 million private sector jobs, endured 21 consecutive months of 9 percent or higher unemployment, and mortgaged the futures of our kids and grand kids. More spending and government is not the answer to all our ills.
"The unfortunate reality is that the Energy Department's stimulus loan guarantee program highlights many of the systemic flaws associated with the stimulus. In the mad dash to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, projects were rushed and the highly-touted benefits from ribbon cuttings were not realized. The days of "spend now, ask questions later' are over. With proper oversight and the recovery of unspent funds, coupled with further spending cuts and the eradication of burdensome government red tape, we can get job creators hiring and the economy moving again."