On top of that, the jobs numbers Thune and Grassley used from Recovery.gov account mainly for direct labor and equipment costs for constructing or reconfiguring manufacturing facilities, DOE said.
A fuller picture of the program’s jobs impact would factor benefits to the supply chain and full-time jobs added by firms as a result facility construction, the DOE official said.
An aide to Grassley said the report was based on information provided to the senator by the Energy Department.
A spokesman for the Energy Department defended the battery investments and said they are “helping the United States compete in a fiercely competitive global market.”
“Our investments, often made with support of bipartisan congressional support, are bolstering the growth of American companies, are spurring the transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles, and helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons said.
The senators also noted that A123 Systems, a Waltham, Mass.-based battery maker that received a $249 million grant from the program in 2009, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.
But A123 is likely to be purchased — differentiating it from other Energy stimulus blunders. Milwaukee, Wis.-based battery firm Johnson Controls Inc. is battling Chinese automaker Wanxiang Group in a bidding war for A123’s assets.
Still, Republicans and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney have tried to turn A123’s struggles into another clean energy albatross for President Obama.
That a Chinese firm is proving a more attractive suitor for A123’s remaining assets by offering $465 million for a full-fledged buyout — Johnson Controls wants only A123’s car battery business for $125 million — would likely inflame criticisms of green energy stimulus funding.
Obama has stayed the clean-energy course on the campaign trail. He calls federal backing for clean energy necessary to keep domestic firms competitive in the international market.
This post was last updated at 5:39 p.m.