McMorris Rodgers and Upton watch new DOE loan approvals closely

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Republicans on the U.S. Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee this week called for plans from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for implementing new lending programs and spending power provided for in both the recently enacted Cut Inflation Act of 2022, as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which was enacted in November 2021.

The spending laws created an entirely new class of loans eligible for DOE guarantees and allocated nearly $12 billion to subsidize the cost of loan guarantees, according to an Oct. 11 letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of State. Energy Jennifer Granholm by U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House E&C Committee Ranking Member, House Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member E&C Fred Upton (R-MI), and Chief Republican Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

Members are seeking information on the DOE’s specific plans to implement its new authorities and taxpayer subsidies through these loan programs, which include guaranteeing more than $40 billion in loans for the deployment of new first-of-its-kind technologies in a program that could pledge to underwrite $350 billion in loans, largely for commercial energy technologies and infrastructure, even though those borrowers have plenty of private sector financing opportunities, according to their letter.

“The scope and scale of this expanded lending authority, the associated credit subsidies, and the rapid four-year timeline for making commitments raise questions about increased risks of waste, fraud, and abuse, particularly if the administration is using the program for its rush to green program,” the committee members wrote.

In a separate statement, Rep. McMorris Rodgers also stressed that Americans cannot afford President Joe Biden “to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on a political agenda that forces an expensive ‘green’ energy transition, threatens the energy reliability, increases costs and makes America dependent on the Chinese Communist Party for batteries and solar panels.

The congresswoman pledged House E&C Commerce Republicans “will hold the DOE accountable for every penny spent to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted and the American people are protected.”

To assist the House E&C Committee in its oversight of DOE loan programs, members asked Secretary Granholm to provide them with information by Oct. 25 on several items, including a list of all loans. and current loan guarantees in the portfolio of the loan program office. , and a list of all open funding and funding opportunities, by statutory category, according to their letter.

Republicans also want Granholm to explain the DOE’s review process for loan guarantee decisions, including for secretary approval, and the role of independent departmental reviews and risk oversight, among other issues.

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