The White House considers the report a validation of its efforts, saying the report "confirms that the overall loan portfolio as a whole is expected to perform well and holds less than the amount of risk envisioned by Congress when they designed and funded the program."
"While the portfolio includes loans to a range of projects that carry different levels of risk," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz, "today's report finds that the Department of Energy has been judicious in balancing these risks. In fact, Mr. Allison identifies less risk for the overall portfolio than the Department's analysis, and less than Congress estimated when it set aside a $10 billion reserve in anticipation of losses associated with funding these emerging industries."
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House committee that has been investigating the Solyndra loan, and the loan program more broadly, also greeted the audit as a sign that the administration's program is working soundly.
"The report is a repudiation of the partisan attack on the program by Congressional Republicans and the oil and coal industries," Waxman said.
Republicans on the House committee investigating Solyndra said that the "first step on the road to recovery is overcoming denial, and this audit is a long-overdue acknowledgement that the Obama administration has a problem."
But Rep. Cliff Stearns and Rep. Fred Upton also said "it would be a stunning case of bureaucratic disregard to declare victory because the government is expecting to lose 'just' $3 billion."
Stearns and Upton also said that Allison's suggested creation of "an early warning" system "misses the point given that the internal warnings on Solyndra were abundant well before the half a billion dollar loan guarantee was finalized. What use are early warnings if they are ignored?"
The auditor did caution that he expects a number of companies that have received loans will likely come back to the Department of Energy seeking to revise the terms. He said the rules imposed on the companies, and the complexity of their enterprises, means that "many projects are likely to seek such relief at some point during the term of the DOE loan or loan guarantee."