Despite Republican assertions that bill phases out loan guarantee program, it leaves $34 billion intact for Energy Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite rejection by Republicans of amendments designed to ensure that the Department of Energy (DOE) not award loan guarantees to failing companies or companies whose projects are already significantly over budget, House Republicans are moving forward this week with a full committee mark-up of the so-called “No More Solyndras” Act. Numerous conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity previously stated support for the Republican legislation, after House Republicans asserted that the bill would either phase out the DOE loan guarantee program or abolish it altogether.  In letters sent today to eight organizations by Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the lawmaker explains that nothing in the “No More Solyndras Act” would preclude DOE from awarding any of 48 pending applications worth upwards of $62 billion that are currently in due diligence, nor the two nuclear projects worth $10.3 billion DOE has already conditionally approved. In fact, Rep. Markey explains in the letters that, the No More Solyndras Act is so broadly drafted that even those applications received by the end of 2011, which have not entered due diligence but also have not been rejected or withdrawn, would still be eligible to receive loan guarantees in the future. This includes the pool of nuclear project applications that would be eligible for loan guarantees worth more than $100 billion.
Rep. Markey sent letters to American Energy Alliance, Americans for Tax Reform, American Conservative Union, American Commitment, Heritage Foundation, Let Freedom Ring, Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens Against Government Waste
“I encourage you to further examine the “No More Solyndras Act” in order to determine whether the legislation actually lives up to either its name or its stated goal,” writes Rep. Markey, senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in the letter. “I additionally would welcome your organization’s input regarding amendments that impose real constraints on the DOE’s authority to award further loan guarantees to companies whose projects or finances indicate a potential taxpayer exposure far greater than that of Solyndra.”
A copy of the letters can be found HERE.
Last week, Rep. Markey offered two amendments to the “No More Solyndras Act” to prevent awarding of loan guarantees to failing companies or companies whose projects are already over-budget. One Rep. Markey amendment would have prevented a loan guarantee from being awarded to companies which have been threatened with being de-listed from a stock exchange. USEC, which has a $2 billion loan guarantee pending at DOE, was issued such a threat by the New York Stock Exchange after its stock price fell below $1. Another Rep. Markey amendment would have prevented loan guarantees from being awarded to companies that had either lost more than a net of $535 million in the last calendar year or applied for a loan guarantee for a project that is already more than $535 million over budget. USEC lost $540 million in 2011, and Georgia Power Company, which has had its $8.3 billion loan guarantee conditionally approved by DOE, is almost a billion dollars over-budget on its nuclear reactor project. The amendments were defeated along party lines.
Video of Rep. Markey’s statements in opposition to the “No More Solyndras Act” can be found HERE and HERE.