Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) today released the text of their draft bill the "No More Solyndras Act." The legislation is a product of the committee's investigation into the $535 million loan guarantee to the California solar panel manufacturer that ultimately went bankrupt, costing thousands of jobs and leaving taxpayers on the hook for half a billion dollars. On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a joint legislative hearing on Discussion Drafts of the "No More Solyndras Act" as well as the "Smart Energy Act." The hearing will commence at 9:15 am in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Upon releasing the bill, Chairman Upton stated, "Our investigation has uncovered a number of disturbing truths behind DOE's loan guarantee program, ground zero of the Obama administration's failed stimulus. 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. In light of the recent string of bankruptcies, Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound Solar just last week, our bill takes a stand for American taxpayers, declaring loud and clear that there will be "No More Solyndras.'"
Chairman Stearns stated, "The Obama DOE's stimulus record is littered with failure, and it is American taxpayers who are paying the price. 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."
As the committee's investigation revealed, the Obama administration put Solyndra's loan on the fast track despite repeated red flags and warnings from OMB and DOE officials. When the warnings came to fruition and Solyndra was out of cash in the autumn of 2010, the Obama administration doubled down on its bad bet, restructuring Solyndra's loan in early 2011 and putting wealthy investors at the front of the line ahead of taxpayers. Upton and Stearns introduced this legislation to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck paying hundreds of millions of dollars because of the Obama administration's risky bets.
The "No More Solyndras Act" will phase out DOE's flawed loan guarantee program under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and provide taxpayers strong new protections for any pending participants in the program. The bill provides greater loan guarantee transparency by requiring DOE to report to Congress on the decision-making process and details of the loan. The bill also prohibits DOE from restructuring the terms of any guarantee and forbids the subordination of U.S. taxpayers' dollars to any other investors.