The U.S. House of Representatives has approved H.R. 6213, known as the ‘No More Solyndras Act,’ by a vote of 245-161.
The legislation – introduced by Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in July – would phase out the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) loan guarantee program by prohibiting the issuance of any new loan guarantees and subjecting pending guarantees to new standards.
The legislation was developed as Upton and Stearns led extensive congressional investigations into bankrupt thin-film module manufacturer Solyndra, which received a loan guarantee under the DOE program.
According to a statement from the Republican-led House Energy & Commerce committee, the ongoing Solyndra probe showed that the DOE program was ‘dysfunctional, tainted with politics, and lacking the necessary safeguards to protect taxpayers against failed government investments.’
Although Section 1705 – the provision under which Solyndra was backed – has expired, the DOE is still considering applications for loan guarantees under Section 1703, which authorizes the DOE to support clean energy technologies that are unable to obtain conventional private financing.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose proposed amendment to make the underlying bill's prohibition against awarding new loan guarantees contingent on the extension of the wind energy production tax credit failed, criticized the final legislation.
‘Republicans say they want no more Solyndras, but what they really want is no more clean energy solutions,’ he said in a statement, noting that the bill does not stop the funding of what he believes are risky loan guarantees for nuclear and coal plants. ‘They don't want the newest clean energy technologies to compete with coal, nuclear, oil and other fossil fuels.’
The ‘No More Solyndras Act’ now advances to the Senate for consideration. The final roll call for the House can be viewed here.