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Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I, of course, rise in support of H.R. 6213.
This bill makes more important changes to better protect taxpayer funds spent under the Department of Energy's title XVII loan guarantee authority. I thank Chairman Upton for his good work and his committee.
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over the commercial application of energy technology. One purpose of the title XVII loan guarantee program is to move energy technologies from research and development to commercial application. As part of our oversight responsibility for this program, we examined it on numerous occasions, including earlier this year as part of a hearing in which we received testimony from Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The poster child for this poor judgment is Solyndra, which President Obama famously touted as a ``true engine of economic growth'' for the United States.
Most Americans are familiar with Solyndra's story, in which the Department of Energy gambled half a billion taxpayer dollars to support a failing solar company whose leading investors, I'm sorry to say, were major fundraisers and supporters of our President. Less well known is that the DOE made 25 other gambles under the program's section 1705 authority, staking a total of approximately $16 billion of American taxpayer money on what they call green energy companies with risky business models similar to that of Solyndra. I am also sorry to say that many of these companies also have ties to the current administration through investors that are major donors, bundlers, and advocates.
If more of these companies fail, the Department of Energy made clear that it could restructure loan agreements in the same manner that it handled Solyndra, placing political supporters and private investors at the front of the line while leaving taxpayers holding the bag. This legislation would absolutely prevent that from happening again by requiring that taxpayer dollars are not subordinate to private finance should more bankruptcies result from this program.
Further, the bill seeks to limit taxpayer risk by prohibiting DOE from making new loan guarantee awards for projects from applications submitted after December 31, 2011.
These are necessary fixes to a troubled program, and I urge Members to support the underlying legislation.
I appreciate the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for working with the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to further improve the bill in advance of it being brought to the floor.
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