House Republicans Gunning For End Of Auto Technology Loan Program

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
house republicans gunning for end of auto technology loan program

Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed.

The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan and Ford, would see the remaining $16.5 billion be rescinded as part of the House Budget Committee’s budget proposal:

The budget rescinds all unobligated balances from the president’s stimulus green energy programs. The government cannot recover taxpayer dollars from failed projects like Solyndra, but it can protect taxpayers from being on the hook for future boondoggles.

Said “boondoggles” include the aforementioned solar panel startup Solyndra ($536 million received; failed in 2011), Fisker ($529 million; now under new ownership), and Vehicle Production Group ($50 million received; U.S. Department of Energy sold the loan to AM General for $3 million). On the other hand, Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.4 billion) and Tesla ($465 million) have done well with their loans, with Tesla paying off its loan nine years early.

The effort to kill the program has been ongoing since the collapse of Solyndra, but until now, the House Republicans haven’t had support from the Senate. Now under Republican control, however, Congress could do away with the program barring a veto from President Barack Obama.

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  • Thelaine Thelaine on Mar 21, 2015

    Musk pays off his federal taxpayer loan with proceeds from the sale of state tax credits and helps himself to another billion. Go forth brave eco-pioneer!

    • See 5 previous
    • Thelaine Thelaine on Mar 23, 2015

      @JPWhite I understand your point JP. Still, I disagree. Taxpayers are paying for this scheme. Absent this shakedown of potential car buyers, Tesla would have lost $57 million, or $11,400 per car. As the company sold 5,000 cars in the quarter, though, $13,600 per car was paid by other manufacturers, who are going to pass at least some of that cost on to buyers of their products. Folks in the new car market are likely paying a bit more than simply the direct tax subsidy. Tesla isn’t actually making money selling cars. It’s making money from crony capitalist taxes of people who buy cars from other companies. And even the customers who buy its cars get paid with taxpayer money. First, there’s the $7500 taxback bonus that every buyer gets and every taxpayer pays. Then there are generous state subsidies ($2500 in California, $4000 in Illinois—the bluer the state, the more the taxpayers get gouged), all paid to people forking out $63K (plus taxes) for the base version, to roughly $100K for the really quick one. Tesla is still turning a profit, not from customers, but from money being seized from taxpayers to compensate its customers for buying Tesla.

  • LuciferV8 LuciferV8 on Mar 21, 2015

    You're absolutely right on this one, but then so was Eisenhower. The American people will finally wake up when things start getting really tight. By then, it might be too late though.

  • An innocent man An innocent man on Mar 22, 2015

    @Xeranar Clinton opposed NAFTA and signed it under protest? That doesn't seem right. Let's go to the videotape. Note Mr. Clinton's feistiness towards those who oppose the agreement. Hardly seems the tone of one who "signed it under protest" no? Plus President Carter is at the White House to lend support. Is Carter a "Blue Dog Democrat" as you called its supporters? I don't recall him that way.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 23, 2015

    xer, Started a new thread at the bottom to be easier to find. The necessity of that means it's time to wrap up. Prole - I was thinking 1984 since that is where the term comes from so you would be Outer Party IIRC. Trying to pigeonhole my arguments as mostly normative is rarher ignorant. Why do you always try to play classification games? Just because you classify something doesn't change it. At any rate, most of my arguments with you are pointing out how ridiculous you are being, not appeals to the conservative status quo. My dislike of your rudeness is simply reactionary. I can't help it. I was raised well. (Okay, that one was normative, so?) Classifying me as a Tory or corporatist is just wrong. Try again. And I don't write with resentment of lower classes (though maybe I have an issue with the low class, that's social rather than economic. Tasteless rich people do irk me). You read what I say, put it through a progressive filter designed to impute malignancy, and react to the malignancy that was never there. Why, well let's take the living wage nonsense. Living wages are rarely properly defined and I believe this is a crucial propaganda element. If they were strictly and objectively defined, the whole thing might actually work to ruin progressivism. Mostly, it's just minimum wage bump set to a feel good level to buy votes from unskilled workers, class warfare types, and guilt ridden people who can't think their way out of a paper bag. The reality is that the laws hurt employment and screw up markets and if broadly adopted hurt the poor the most. The benefactors are unions, politicians, bureaucrats and class warfare con men. Your evalualuation of the 2008 recovery is just silly. You don't even realize the cause. I've had enough trying to get you to stop confusing causation and correlation. It no longer matters to me if you are unwilling or unable to get to the truth of anything.