The day after Energy Secretary Steven Chu took responsibility for backing the failed solar energy company Solyndra, a member of the House committee investigating the half billion dollar federal loan failure said there is a lot of digging left to do in the case.
“I don’t know where it ends,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois on ABC’s political talk show “Top Line.” ”I know we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of research left to do. I commend the secretary for coming in front of the committee. But look, what it comes down to is the really basic fact that $535 million was given to Solyndra despite multiple warnings along the track that Solyndra was in bad financial shape.”
Kinzinger expressed frustration that Chu would not tell the committee if any other companies receiving loans through the Department of Energy are in danger of failing like Solyndra.
“So the scary thing to me is how many more loans out there – how much more tax payer money is there that potentially could fall to bankruptcy? And that’s a pretty scary proposition.”
Kinzinger said he wouldn’t expect the Energy Secretary to publicly identify the companies – that could put a struggling company out of business. But he is concerned that more taxpayer money is at stake.
“I think we have a right to know the answer to this question, and you know again and beyond that the secretary said, ‘Hey, with hindsight basically probably wouldn’t have done this again, but I’m refusing to apologize – that’s just the risk of doing business.’ That’s a lot of money to just risk doing business with.”
Kinzinger also weighed in on the bipartisan “supercommittee” charged with finding a deficit reduction plan. The deadline for the supercommittee is next week before Thanksgiving and there is no concrete proposal on the table.
“I think until we have a final product it’s not worth necessarily talking about what ifs,” said Kinzinger, who would not take a position on whether he would vote to raise revenue – taxes – in order to deal with the deficit and debt. Some Republicans on the committee have suggested they could support between $300 billion and $400 billion in increased revenue.
“When you talk about whole-sale tax increases, there’s not a single economists that will argue in a bad economy you need to raise taxes on people. There may be one or two but the vast majority don’t. I want to see a final product,” he said.
Kinzinger said Republicans have worked in good faith on the committee and argued they have done more with Democrats – an assertion that would likely be disputed by Democrats. Americans generally, said Kinzinger, are “going to be screaming” if the two sides can’t come together.
“I’ve seen from our side that we’ve come to the table again and again and done things that have been difficult t do. I want to see that kind of cooperation on the other side, because the American people are gonna be screaming if we can’t even work this thing out. So we have got to come to a final package. You know, look, I commend the folks on the supercommittee to please work through the weekend and come up with something because the American people need it. We need it as a nation,” he said.
If there is no deal through the supercommittee, the government will have to enact more than a trillion in across-the-board cuts, including on social programs and defense spending. That process of automatic cuts, known as “sequestration,” said Kinzinger, would be “devastating” to the military.