Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are continuing their examination into the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, seeking information about the program's ability to create the jobs promised by the Obama administration. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and subcommittee Vice Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) today wrote to Acting DOE Secretary Daniel Poneman requesting clarification on the number of jobs actually created as a result of DOE's loan guarantee program.
The Obama administration promised DOE's loan guarantee program would create thousands of jobs and promote economic recovery, but the program has been plagued with problems from the start. Three of the first five companies that received a loan guarantee under Section 1705 have filed for bankruptcy and several other recipients are facing financial troubles. Despite these failures, DOE continues to hype the program as a success and still maintains a list of job creation estimates on its website. Through its investigation, however, the committee has discovered that the current jobs numbers listed on DOE's website do not appear to match the numbers shown in DOE's internal documents or the annual loan reviews produced for each project.
The members wrote, "Unfortunately, based on Committee staff's review of the redacted annual loan reviews for each project, it appears that these job estimates have failed to materialize, in part, due to the aforementioned bankruptcies and the precarious financial positions of certain other projects. Despite these changing conditions, however, the estimated number of jobs preserved or created by the Section 1705 program, as advertised on the DOE website, has unexpectedly remained the same. The consistency of DOE's job creation numbers is even more surprising given the fact that, according to the loan reviews made available to Committee staff, DOE has not disbursed a single dollar to five loan guarantee recipients. In fact, DOE has only disbursed about $8.3 billion of the $15 billion in loan guarantees."
The members continued, "Section 1705, as part of the ARRA, was marketed to the American public as a vehicle for job creation and preservation. In order to better understand whether DOE's investment of taxpayer dollars into Section 1705 projects has actually resulted in the job numbers promised, please provide written answers to the following questions by May 8, 2013."
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