Every since California solar manufacturer Solyndra suddenly filed bankruptcy earlier this month, Republicans have been celebrating with glee. Consumption of Champaign has quadrupled in Washington. They believe they finally found a scandal that will bring down the Obama Presidency.
Why do they think they can bring down Obama over this? The reason is Solyndra received a $562 million dollar loan guarantee from the government, and taxpayers are likely to be on the hook for most of that loan. The loan was finalized in 2009 by the Department of Energy under Obama’s watch. The President went to the plant and praised it as an example of the green job economy he is promoting.
Republicans think this is the equivalent of Watergate. They have set up Congressional hearings into Obama’s involvement, called for an independent prosecutor, and used Solyndra as a reason to be against every single measure that Obama supports from job training bills to cancer treatment, to disaster relief. The government almost shut down over it.
What a great time to be a Republican. Now there is an excuse for doing nothing. Hold on, though. Facts are sometimes pesky things.
Republican hands are not clean on Solyndra either
Dana Milbank wrote an editorial in the Washington Post pointing out how Solyndra was born under the Bush Administration with Republican parents.“The loan guarantee program under which the Solyndra loan guarantee was issued actually was part of the Bush Administration’s Energy Policy Act that passed a Republican Congress in 2005. It was not an Obama or Democratic program.
Sam Bodman, Bush’s Energy Secretary said of the program in 2007 “Loan guarantees aim to stimulate investment and commercialization of clean energy technologies to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy,” The release said the Energy Department had received 143 pre-applications for the guarantees and narrowed the list down to 16 finalists — including Solyndra Milbank pointed out.
Bodman said the action put “Americans one step closer to being able to use new and novel sources of energy on a mass scale to reduce emissions and allow for vigorous economic growth and increased energy.
In March 2008 the Bush Administration announced that it was funding research projects on photovoltaic technology. “These projects are integral to President Bush’s Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015,” the announcement said. Solyndra was mentioned in the release.
Solyndra did get special consideration by the White House to make the loan deal possible. It wasn’t Obama; it was the Bush White House. Bush changed the regulations governing the loan guarantee program to include solar panels. This was done specifically for Solyndra. Without that, no loan could have been made.
The most vocal Solyndra-gaters voted for the Solyndra loan bill
The loan guarantee program that is being trashed by Congressional Republicans was enacted by a bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Barton is one of the ones calling for the Solyndra investigation.
It was supported by other Republican Congressmen like Louie Gohmert (RTP-TX) and David Drier (R-CA) who have made multiple speeches on the floor recently decrying the program they created calling it crony capitalism. Republicans tried to strip $100 billion from the loan program last week which nearly caused the government to shut down.
They were for it before Obama was for it, now they are against it. Why is a program good policy when a Republican is in the White House, and crony capitalism when an African American Democrat is President?
Had McCain been elected, the loan would most likely have been approved since it had Republican parentage and strong support in the Congress. Had McCain been elected, Solyndra would have also gone broke and the taxpayers would have been on the hook. But, there would have been a deafening silence coming from the likes of Rep Barton, Sen. DeMint; Rep. Drier and Sen. McConnell.
Solyndra is clearly a bad situation. However, it should not be blamed entirely on Obama, nor should it be used as an excuse to throw the baby out with the bath water. The Bush premise for the program to begin with is still valid.
This needs to be investigates not exploited.
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