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No More Solyndras Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WHITFIELD. First, I want to thank the chairman of the full committee and the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Mr. Stearns, for the great effort they did over the last year-and-a-half of bringing the facts of these loan programs to the Congress and to the American people. I'm also personally glad that we have the opportunity to talk about this issue today because transparency is vitally important, I believe, for the American people.

This legislation applies to two loan guarantee programs at the Department of Energy, section 1703 loans and section 1705 loans. The 1703 program was adopted in 2005. Most of us in here voted for it. President Bush was in the White House at that time, but no loan guarantees were issued under President Bush under that program. The second program was 1705, which was part of President Obama's stimulus package.

Now, I believe that the President made a mistake, and maybe it was deliberate, maybe it wasn't, but I don't think that he ever had a sound policy
to help stimulate the economy in America. I believe that his stimulus program, particularly this loan guarantee program, he was using that as an opportunity to push an agenda to move America into green energy before America was able to go to green energy.

And he loaned $538 million to Solyndra, a company of which Mr. George Kaiser, one of the President's major political donors, was a part owner. That company went bankrupt. And not only did it go bankrupt, but the bankruptcy's terms were such that the venture capitalist, the private capitalist, Mr. Kaiser, and others would get their money back before the taxpayers did. And so this 1705 program and the 1703 program, in my view, put the government in as a venture capitalist in risky projects.

We know they're risky because Solyndra's already bankrupt, Abound Solar is bankrupt, Beacon Power is bankrupt, Nevada Geothermal has no positive cash flow, First Wind has withdrawn its IPO and is having significant financial problems.

So the President was not really developing a sound policy to stimulate the economy. He was providing money to risky ventures to push America into green energy before the technology was really available.

So this legislation simply puts an end to the program.

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Mr. WHITFIELD. Now, I would be the first to say that there's still $34 billion left. We have 50 companies that have presented applications to the Department of Energy. They've spent a lot of money. So to just cut it off right now would be basically unfair. I would like to end it right now. But it would be unfair.

But let me just finish with this note.

The Department of Energy's own Web site said that because of these loan guarantee programs, 1,175 new jobs were created in America in green energy. Guess what? Each job cost $12.8 million. Now, if you're a hardworking taxpayer out there, I don't think you want your taxpayer dollars going to risky ventures in which private capitalists get their money back before anyone else does and for every job created it costs $12.8 million.

Let's pass this legislation.

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