House advances 'No More Solyndras' bill

The bill is a reaction to Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that received $538 million in government loans but filed for bankruptcy. Republicans pounced on the bankruptcy as a sign that the Obama administration was handing out money to politically favored firms that have a "green jobs" agenda without weighing the viability of these companies.

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"Solyndra has become synonymous with the Obama administration's reckless spending programs that have done nothing to create the jobs our country so desperately needs, nor those that had been promised by the President of the United States and the Democratic Party," Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said during the debate.

"Despite warnings that the company was unsustainable and would surely fail, the administration was blinded by their political agenda and committed over half a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars to a privately held company," he added. "Given these practices, it's no wonder that our current president has created budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion each year he has served as president."

Democrats slammed the bill as "messaging bill" meant to help Republicans in the November elections.

"My friends on the other side of the aisle are trying to make it seem like there was a big conspiracy to inappropriately give money to Solyndra, a company that was trying to manufacture solar panels here in the United States," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said. "They claim that there was a political effort to award Solyndra funds in an improper and possibly illegal way.

"And in doing so, they're attacking a Department of Energy loan guarantee program that allows private investors to invest billions of dollars in order to create thousands of jobs here in America."

But Sessions shot back that Democrats just don't want to talk about Solyndra's failure.

"What they really don't like is when we bring that up, when we say, part of the job of being a member of Congress as a policy body is to look at the mistakes that were made," he said.

Other Democrats, such as Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), charged that the bill is structured in a way that favors oil and coal companies. Under the bill, applications for loans under the Department of Energy's loan program that were made in 2012 would be barred, and applications made before 2012 could only be approved after a Treasury Department review of the loan.

Markey pointed out that this structure would allow many pending loans to oil and coal companies to proceed.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) also noted that this structure would allow some objectionable loans to proceed.

"So there will be more Solyndras under this bill," McClintock said. While he said he will support the bill, he also suggested a different title: "the 50 More Solyndras and Then We'll Stop Wasting Your Money, Really, We Promise Act."

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