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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JORDAN. Mr. Chairman, let me just say this complements the amendment that was done earlier by Mrs. Blackburn from Tennessee. This is the no-more-Solyndras amendment. We're all familiar with that situation. As the Clerk read, this amendment would prohibit any new loan guarantees for renewable energy, electricity systems, and biofuels as defined in section 1705 of title 17 and, as I said before, complements what the House agreed to and passed earlier.

Let me just quickly tell you about this program. This is a $15 billion program. Twenty-six projects got your tax dollars. Of those 26 projects that got American tax money, 22 of those 26--three-fourths of those--were rated double B-minus junk status. In other words, no private capital would go there, but it was okay to put your tax dollars into these projects.

And what have we got for this? Everyone knows the story of Solyndra. They received $535 million, fired a thousands workers, and went bankrupt. But we also have Beacon Power, which received $43 million of your tax dollars and went bankrupt as well. First Solar got $3 billion in loan guarantees. It's now fired half of its workers. Its stock has plummeted. And Abound Solar--just to name four--$400 million loan guarantee and has fired 180 workers.

So here's what's going on with this program. The 1705 program was funded by the stimulus program. That is now expired. But in this continuing resolution that was passed last year, in that bill there was language to allow the 1703 program to continue to do what was previously done in 1705.

And so my amendment says, Enough of that. We've had enough taxpayer dollars wasted. We don't need any more. Our committee that I get the privilege of sitting on, the Oversight Committee, has had several hearings on this. We don't need the Department of Energy handing out more of your money to companies with double B-minus ratings and junk ratings and lower. We don't need that anymore. This says: enough is enough. We're in debt. This is at least one place we can start to save some taxpayer dollars.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. JORDAN. Mr. Chairman, I would just respond that the gentleman talked about--a ``couple of problems'' I think was the language he used referring to this program. It's hard to see when you have companies going bankrupt with taxpayer money, and 22 out of 26 of the projects that were funded were rated below investment grade credit quality--in other words junk status--it's hard to see how you can say ``a couple of problems'' when that's the history of this program. At some point, we're going to have to cut some spending.

One of my favorite movies, and some of you may have seen the movie ``1776.'' It's a musical. It's when they draft the Declaration of Independence, and there's a great scene, a great line--there are many great scenes, but one of the ones that I remember, where they're going through the declaration that Jefferson has just written. They're marking it up, they're editing it. And as they go through it, there are Members of that Congress who say, Well, we don't want to say this because that might really offend King George. And if we say this, Parliament may not like that. And what about deep sea fishing rights? They go through this whole thing. Finally, John Adams stands up and says: It's a revolution, dammit; we're going to have to offend somebody.

And at some point we've got to say we're so in debt we're going to have to cut something. Why not focus on a program that completely doesn't work? A program we all know has failed.

So if the other party can't even cut a program where 22 of the 26 projects are junk status, no one will give them money, they gave your taxpayer dollars to them and they went bankrupt--if we can't even stop that program, how in the heck are we ever going to deal with a $16 trillion debt larger than our entire economy?

So this is as simple as it gets. This is the low hanging fruit here, guys. And this party over here won't even go there. Unbelievable. The program speaks for itself. It's a failure. We should end it. We should save taxpayer dollars and take that initial first step in bringing some sanity back to our fiscal situation.

I yield back the balance of my time and urge a yes vote on the amendment.


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