No More Solyndras? Not Quite

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Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the “No More Solyndras Act.” As Taxpayers for Common Sense notes, however, the bill should probably be called the “More Solyndras Act” because it would still allow the Department of Energy to approve loan guarantee applications that were submitted by Dec. 31, 2011.

Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the so-called “No More Solyndras Act.” While the bill includes some taxpayer protections, it does not go far enough to ensure the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program does not lose more on defaulted loans that carry much higher price tags than defaulted solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra. As currently drafted, the bill leaves $34 billion in loan guarantees on the table for projects ranging from coal and nuclear to biofuels and solar. Because these projects were vetted through the same flawed process as Solyndra, this bill could easily lead to billions in defaulted projects.

Sensing an opportunity to embarrass Republicans, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) offered an amendment that would have completely ended the Title 17 loan guarantee program. Most of the committee’s Republicans promptly embarrassed themselves by joining all Democrats in voting down the amendment 3-39. Republicans Mike Pompeo (Kansas), Michael Burgess (Texas), and Steve Scalise (Louisiana) were the only members to vote to abolish the program.

This isn’t the first time that Republicans have joined Democrats to save the program. Back in June, an amendment that would have shut down the Title 17 loan guarantee program failed 136-282 with 127 Republicans joining 155 Democrats to defeat it. Only 54 percent of freshmen Republicans from the so-called “Tea Party Class” supported the amendment.