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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sec. Chu Testifies On Solyndra Loans - Continuing Resolution and Balanced Budget Amendment Pending

Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 17, 2011:
The House has passed the Senates Veterans Jobs bill (422 to 0); now headed to the President for signature.

The U.S. House takes up a "mini-bus" spending bill, H.R. 2112, to fund multiple government agencies, a short-term spending bill to keep the government running until December 16th, and a balanced budget amendment. The bill wraps together three funding bills for fiscal year 2012 ( Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development). The House and the Senate have already reconciled the differences between their versions of the bill, and the House is expected to vote to pass the bill today. The Senate could take it up shortly after the House passes.

Note that if Congress fails to complete nine other appropriations bills before December 16th, it would need to pass another Continuing Resolution to keep the government running.

Also today, the House debates a measure that would add a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Each chamber must vote on the measure before the end of the year pursuant to the terms of the bill passed last August to lift the debt ceiling.

The Senate began consideration of S. 1867, the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization bill.

After the House votes on the conference report for the first minibus bill, H.R. 2112 the Senate is expected to take up the bill. The conference report also includes a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Dec. 16th, since the current CR expires on Friday.

As Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight & investigations today, there are a number of troubling news reports about the $535 million taxpayer loan to the bankrupt solar power company Solyndra and other Energy Department loans that the Obama administration needs to better explain.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported, “The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show. The announcement could have been politically damaging because President Obama and others in the administration had held up Solyndra as a poster child of its clean-energy initiative, saying the company’s new factory, built with the help of stimulus money, could create 1,000 jobs. Six months before the midterm elections, Obama visited Solyndra’s California plant to praise its success, even though outside auditors had questioned whether the operation might collapse in debt. As the contentious 2010 elections approached, Solyndra found itself foundering, and it warned the Energy Department that it would need an emergency cash infusion. A Solyndra investment adviser wrote in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail — without explaining the reason — that Energy Department officials were pushing “very hard” to delay making the layoffs public until the day after the elections. The announcement ultimately was made on Nov. 3, 2010 — immediately following the Nov. 2 vote.”

Meanwhile, according to Fox News, “As the White House rejects charges that the Obama administration was motivated by politics in its decisions on green energy loans, scrutiny is increasing over the preference given to Democratic donors seeking federal loans. . . . The rolls of green energy subsidies show that beyond a few headline-grabbing cases, several well-connected Democrats obtained taxpayer assistance for environmentally friendly projects. Among the recipients are:
“-- Solyndra, which received $535 million in loan guarantees and whose chief investor was the George Kaiser Family Foundation. George Kaiser was an Obama campaign bundler.
“-- Brightsource Energy, which received $1.6 billion and whose senior adviser is Robert Kennedy, Jr., an early Obama backer;
“-- Solar Reserve, which got a $737 million loan, and whose major investor is a company run by Michael Froman, who was a deputy assistant to the president. Froman bundled up to $500,000 for the president's 2008 campaign;
“-- Granite Reliable Wind Generation, which received a $168.9 million loan. The company's majority owner is a firm formerly led by Nancy Ann DeParle, now a White House deputy chief of staff and former head of the president's health care communications team during the reform debate; and
“-- Abound Solar, which received a loan guarantee worth $400 million. A key investor is billionaire heiress Pat Stryker, who gave $87,000 to Obama's inauguration committee, and hundreds of thousands more to Democratic causes.”

All of these concerns about the Obama administration’s energy loans deserve scrutiny by Congress, both in today’s hearing and in the future.

Tags: Washington, D.C. US House, US Senate, hearings, Solndra, Depatment of Energy, Sec. Chu, bad loans, Continuing resolution , veterans jobs bill, Balanced Budget Amendment, BBA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:24 PM - Post Link

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