GOP Makes A Statement With Solyndra Bill

On the strength of overwhelming Republican support, the House of Representatives voted today to torpedo a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program that by objective analysis has fared better than it was expected to when a Republican-led Congress and a Republican president invented it.

The “No More Solyndras Act” won’t become law – the Senate has no appetite to take it up and President Obama would surely veto it if it somehow landed on his desk.

image via Solyndra

Republicans – who voted 223-4 for the bill – were well aware of that, but said it nevertheless was important to send a message about where they stood.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who led the charge for the bill, summed up their stance well, writing in the Washington Times today: “We need a Keystone economy, not a Solyndra economy.”

Keystone, of course, is a reference to the pipeline that would bring oil sands petroleum down from Canada, which environmentalists oppose for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the Canadian government says [PDF] that boosting production of the stuff will account for almost all of the country’s increase in greenhouse-gas emissions up to 2020.

Solyndra, well, surely you’ve heard about Solyndra; the Republicans have been beating on the Solyndra drum for more than a year now, since the DOE-loan-backed company failed and swallowed up more than a half-billion taxpayer dollars in the process.

Despite that DOE face plant, an independent analysis of the loan guarantee program determined that it actually “holds less than the amount of risk envisioned by Congress when it created and funded the program.” Also, a Bloomberg Government analysis found that since nearly 90 percent of the loan program was invested in energy projects that had buyers for the power they will produce, the risk of big losses was minimal.

Democrats voted against No More Solyndras — the bill, not the concept — by a 157-22 count. “This is not serious legislation, it’s a political bill,” Henry Waxman of California said, according to Reuters. “They’ve been dancing on the grave of Solyndra for so long. Enough is enough.”

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.