The Energy and Commerce Committee today released an in-depth report on its ongoing investigation into the implementation of President Obama's green energy spending program under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The report, "American Taxpayer Investment, Foreign Corporation Benefit," reveals that foreign renewable energy companies have benefited extensively from the stimulus-created program at the expense of their domestic competition and the American taxpayer. This report follows the committee's previous report, "Where are the Jobs? - The Elusiveness of Job Creation under the Section 1603 Grant Program for Renewable Energy," which revealed that job creation is an afterthought of the Section 1603 program and that the program has produced very few long-term jobs at a high per-job cost to taxpayers.
Committee staff examined Treasury-reported data on Section 1603 grant awardees to determine who has benefited from the program to date, and by how much. As of December 5, 2012 (the most recent available data from Treasury), $16 billion in Section 1603 grants had been approved. The committee found that nearly a quarter of these funds went to U.S. subsidiaries of large European and Asian corporations. According to the report, "With these grants, foreign companies appear to have unduly benefitted from a program ostensibly aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy, growing American businesses, and creating U.S. jobs."
Upon release of the report, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) stated, "The more we learn about DOE's stimulus spending, the worse it appears. The 1603 green energy program failed to deliver the jobs promised, and now we learn that a significant portion of these taxpayer-funded grants are benefiting foreign competitors rather than boosting American industry. We will continue our rigorous oversight of this program to help protect taxpayers' dollars, now turning our attention to the sourcing of major components manufactured overseas for stimulus-supported projects."
Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) added, "It seems the more we look into the 1603 program, the more alarming the situation becomes: our investigation has revealed one out of every four dollars from the 1603 program has benefitted foreign firms. With $16 trillion in debt, we cannot afford to send one out of every four taxpayer dollars overseas for a program that has failed to create the jobs promised."
The 1603 program has come under fire from a number of watchdog groups, including a group of Senate Democrats who criticized the program's payout to foreign companies. Despite these concerns, President Obama's FY 2013 Budget proposed extending the failed program for another year, to include property with a construction start date of 2012. While this extension has yet to be granted, the Congressional Research Service estimates that at least $6 billion remains to be paid out under the program.