The House of Representatives today took a stand for taxpayers and America's energy future and passed H.R. 6213, the "No More Solyndras Act." The House approved the legislation with bipartisan support by a vote of 245 to 161.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) authored the legislation as a product of the committee's extensive investigation into the Department of Energy's $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar panel manufacturer that ultimately went bankrupt last September, leaving taxpayers on the hook for half a billion dollars and resulting in the loss of nearly 1,900 jobs. The committee's investigation revealed DOE's loan guarantee program to be dysfunctional, tainted with politics, and lacking the necessary safeguards to protect taxpayers against failed government investments. To ensure taxpayers are never again left holding the bag for the administration's risky bets, the "No More Solyndras Act" will get government out of the venture capital business by phasing out DOE's grossly mismanaged loan guarantee program.
"What we need is a Keystone economy, not a Solyndra economy. What we need is privately-funded investment, not taxpayer-funded boondoggles. The goal of North American energy independence is within reach, as well as millions of new jobs that would go with it. But we aren't going to get there through Title 17 DOE loan guarantees. Burning money is one source of energy that the country doesn't need. This bill prevents any costly repeats of Solyndra by prohibiting any new loan guarantees and subjecting pending ones to very stringent safeguards," said Upton.
"On behalf of American taxpayers, we had a duty to figure out what went wrong with the Solyndra loan guarantee and whether the loan guarantee program was being properly managed," said Stearns. "The Solyndra investigation, and the No More Solyndras Act, is a great example of how Congressional oversight should work: our investigation uncovered a problem, and the No More Solyndras Act fixes it."
"Three failed companies is more than enough reason to declare DOE's loan guarantee program a failure and end it. We should not be gambling with taxpayer dollars at a time when the federal debt has just eclipsed $16 trillion and unemployment is still above 8 percent," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). "Instead of handing out billions in loan guarantees to selected companies, we need sound energy policies that allow the public sector to thrive and create jobs. The No More Solyndras Act is a commonsense solution that will protect taxpayers and encourage a more robust energy future."