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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 6213, No More Solyndras Act, and Providing for Consideration of Motions to Suspend the Rules

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 779 provides for a structured rule for consideration of H.R. 6213. This rule provides for the discussion and opportunities for Members of the minority and the majority to participate in this debate.

I rise today in support of this rule and the underlying bill. The underlying legislation ensures that all American taxpayers will never again be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of this administration's politically motivated risky bets.

H.R. 6213 draws on the lessons learned from the failed Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program, which invested $535 million into a solar energy company named Solyndra. Unfortunately, Solyndra went bankrupt, leaving hardworking Americans with a check for over half a billion dollars.

Solyndra has become synonymous with the Obama administration's reckless spending programs that have done nothing to create the jobs our country so desperately needs, nor those that had been promised by the President of the United States and the Democratic Party. Despite warnings that the company was unsustainable and would surely fail, the administration was blinded by their political agenda and committed over half a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars to a privately held company.

In fact, during a 2011 restructuring of the loan, the administration placed private investors ahead of taxpayers when it came to reimbursement in the event of bankruptcy. Given these practices, it's no wonder that our current President has created budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion each year he has served as President.

In addition to ensuring that the Federal Government does not throw taxpayer dollars after the investments, H.R. 6213 also highlights the need of the Federal Government to stop propping up failed companies which cannot support themselves in the open market. The Federal Government should not guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-backed loans to companies that do not have a business model that supports sufficient private investment. The administration should not pretend to be a venture capitalist with taxpayers' money.

In testimony before the Rules Committee yesterday, Congressman Ed Whitfield, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy
and Power, testified that the DOE loan guarantee programs spent $15 billion, but only created 1,175 jobs.

That means that each job created cost taxpayers $12.8 million. These statistics demonstrate what House Republicans have been saying for years--this country cannot tax and spend its way to prosperity. Instead, we must encourage the free enterprise system by preventing over-regulation and promoting pro-growth policies, including tax policies that do not push jobs overseas, that create a better free enterprise system, that create not just jobs but also careers for Americans. And they should be designed to incentivize private investment, which is known, Mr. Speaker, as the free enterprise system.

Ultimately, the No More Solyndras Act puts an end to an ineffective government program, protects taxpayers from financing the administration's wish list of projects, and establishes necessary oversight to hold executive branch officials accountable for their actions.

I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule and ``yes'' on the underlying bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I know that our Democrat friends think it's absolutely nothing to lose half a billion dollars that a government made a decision on. But what they really don't like is when we bring that up, when we say part of the job of being a Member of Congress as a policy body is to look at the mistakes that were made. We certainly have looked at mistakes that Republicans and Democrats, administrations and others, have made. But to ignore an issue would be a mistake.

This is not just Solyndra. It was the process of a political agenda that did not, could not pass the smell test and even make it out in the real world. It was a political agenda that was so wanted by an administration that they gave lots of money, not just half a billion here, but to other companies.

You know, today's legislation certainly highlights Solyndra as a failure in the DOE, Department of Energy's loan program, but it should be mentioned that there were other companies, not just Solyndra.

It's really a political process that said, Let's go do this thing whether it makes sense or not, whether it makes money. The companies went bankrupt.

Part of this comes from you've got a lot of people in the administration that wouldn't even recognize a business plan if they saw one. They do recognize taxpayer dollars, plenty of those that were made available by this excessive spending. But accountability is now what Democrats don't like when we're saying let's look at what happened, what materialized.

So Solyndra is not just a one-time or one-company failure of an otherwise what would be called a successful program. It's not. This simply became the poster child, and we believe that we shouldn't repeat this failure. We believe we should effectively talk about it on the floor of the House of Representatives. We should take some bit of time. We're not here beating anybody up. You never even heard me mention names behind the administration or who made these decisions or who pushed it. We're not trying to do that.

We're simply trying to say that we believe half a billion dollars, and a review of that, should become available in the light of day, to not just Members of Congress; but we should vote on it and say we drew a conclusion with some issues.

So we believe any objective evaluation of the facts reveals some issues of Federal dollars of a plan that should be stopped, has stopped, but that we should at least tell what the results were. That's what we're doing here today.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would like to go to the report. Let's see what the report out of the Energy and Commerce Committee said. I am quoting what would be on page 5:

However, the Bush administration did not approve any loan guarantees under the program. This was due partly to the fact that the DOE office implementing the program was slow in being set up, and that program funding only became available in 2007. But even after the Bush DOE had the program up and running, it ran into difficulties finding applicants whose energy projects are meritorious.

In other words, they could not find somebody who is asking for the loan who could present a good business plan of not just profit and loss, but where it would fit in the marketplace to even be considered successful. This is the reason why the Bush administration and Republicans did not do that because they could see failure in the marketplace written all over it even as early as 2007.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, we're now well into the political extremism that we see many times that exhibits itself not just here on the floor of the House of Representatives but really all across this country--those people that want gasoline to rise substantially because they really don't like gasoline. They really don't like the underpinning of how this country uses the energy that we have. Whether it's natural gas, they attack natural gas. If it's nuclear--which is a non-emitting source of pollution--they attack that. This crowd that really doesn't like free enterprise and what I believe is the heartland of this country, manufacturing, which has really taken off as a result of effective use of natural resources in this country through natural gas and the availability of nuclear power and the availability of oil, which fuels our cars to where we can use the resources that were given us effectively.

What they want to do is they want to tax these industries higher so that prices go up, so that consumers have to pay a lot more money. What they forget is that the cars that we fuel, the electricity that we need is the cleanest and the best here in America. The way these are produced are American jobs. The way they're consumed is about American jobs. The way that consumers pay for them and pay for these advantages is American jobs. And here we're looking at how half a billion dollars worth of taxpayer money was put into an effort that not only not ever got off the ground, it quickly went into bankruptcy because it did not meet the marketplace challenges.

I'm not opposed to competition; I think we stand for competition. But don't push a narrow environmentalist policy, go to the White House, go to the Department of Energy and try and fund these on taxpayer dollars only to see that, whoops, we made a mistake, and then act like, whoops, we don't want anybody to know.

All we're trying to suggest today is that Republicans do believe in American jobs. We do believe in American industry. We do believe in the energy industry. We believe in effective use of resources because we're trying to keep jobs here. Their narrow, political, environmentalist policy is what will diminish American jobs, it will diminish our ability to effectively use the resources that we have in this country, and it will put us in a circumstance--for instance, with the Keystone pipeline--where we could use energy from a friendly neighbor to fuel American needs at a good price and avoid what may happen if we get into a circumstance overseas in the Middle East where we would be held hostage, held hostage by those that have the energy that we need, when we could be having it not only close to home, but in our own home, energy made in America.

So, Republicans, look, all we're trying to say is a half a billion dollars that was wasted, somebody ought to recognize that we shouldn't be doing that. That's what Republicans are doing here today.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I think it's very obvious that what Republicans are trying to do is to keep American jobs. We're trying to utilize the free enterprise system, the natural resources that we have in America--clean natural gas, the abundance of other power that we have, including coal, including nuclear--opportunities to keep America strong and keep jobs here, and that's why we're really opposed to the loan guarantees and the things which might take on additional debt and risk by the government. But, more importantly, if it can't be funded within the free enterprise system, then it can't stand on its own.

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Mr. SESSIONS. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we can see that today's legislation answers the question. It ends the debate about Solyndra. Taxpayers know the committee did its work. It held a Rules Committee hearing. Half a billion dollars was lost by Solyndra. We're not down here jumping up and down. We haven't even raised our voices. We simply said that we think that a better process could have taken place, and they're arguing we never should have even had this on the floor--that we don't need any feedback, that everybody already knows. Here is what they know.

We lost half a billion dollars by one company. At least two others had the same outcome where they did not produce anything. They went belly up--bankrupt. We just think that the administration--government--is really not in the business and shouldn't be in the business--despite what we've heard--of pushing the envelope. Let's go out and invest whether it makes sense or not.

Losing money is still a bad proposition. Republicans think it's a bad proposition. There have been lots of arguments today that the government did the right thing, that this administration did the right thing. I think that the facts of the case say that half a billion dollars in a process that didn't work--we need to hear the feedback, and we need to close the books on it. The rule is here to do exactly that--to place on the floor the opportunity for us to debate now the facts of the case, which is exactly what will happen.

I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.

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