President Obama exaggerated when defending his administration’s approval of a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, a now-defunct solar company.
Obama referred to Solyndra’s loan at an Oct. 6 press conference as “a loan guarantee program that predates me.” That’s not accurate. It’s true that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 created a loan guarantee program for clean-energy companies developing “innovative technologies.” But Solyndra’s loan guarantee came under another program created by the president’s 2009 stimulus for companies developing “commercially available technologies.”
The president also overstated past Republican support for the program, saying “all of them in the past have been supportive of this loan guarantee program.” Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and some of them even voted against the Energy Policy Act of 2005 at a time when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.
Lastly, the president deemed the loan guarantee program “successful” overall. But it is too soon to say.
Solyndra and the Stimulus
The Republican-controlled House has been investigating whether the administration ignored red flags about Solyndra’s financial condition when it offered a $535 million loan guarantee to the start-up company. The California company announced in August it would file for bankruptcy protection — about two and a half years after receiving the loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.
Asked whether the Solyndra controversy gave him “pause about any of the decision-making going on in your administration,” Obama first talked about the loan guarantee program.