Bachmann Questions Obama’s Push to Spend on ‘Green’ Projects

September 9, 2011 - 9:10 AM

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Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., shake hands after a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Reagan Library Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) pointed to Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panel company that received $535 million from the federal stimulus act, as an example of President Barack Obama’s unsuccessful attempt to pick winners and losers in the economy.

Solyndra had never shown a profit, yet it received millions of taxpayer dollars. “So this is something that needs to be looked into,” Bachmann said at a news conference following President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

Earlier Thursday, the FBI raided the offices of Solyndra, Inc. The company filed for bankruptcy last week, laying off 1,100 workers. This came after the “green” company received $535 million in federal tax dollars from Obama’s first stimulus proposal, which was intended to spur job growth.

“We need to go with what works, and clearly what doesn’t work is to have the federal government, again, with a government-directed solution, choosing the winners and losers in this economy,” Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate, said.

It has been widely reported by Bloomberg News and others that George Kaiser, an Obama bundler who owns about 35.7 percent of Solyndra, made 16 visits to the White House since 2009, according to White House visitor logs. The Daily Caller reported Thursday that in all, Solyndra officials made 20 White House visits. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating the matter.

The $447-billion jobs package that Obama urged Congress to pass includes $25 billion for school improvements. The money “could be used for a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology in our schools,” the White House said in a fact sheet issued Thursday.

David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, an environmental group, praised the plan in a statement promoted by the White House.

“We are especially pleased with the president’s proposal to modernize America’s schools,” Foster said. “A green school in every community will be a living symbol of how to put America back to work, improve the health of our children and teachers, and move our economy closer to a clean energy future. School modernization creates jobs for construction workers and demand for the energy efficiency products made in America’s factories. The jobs and industries of today and tomorrow must be created in America. Too many U.S. manufacturing jobs have moved offshore — including jobs making solar panels, wind turbines, energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.”

Bachmann recalled that Obama, upon entering office, touted Spain as a model for green jobs that the United States should follow.

“The president has told us before that the United States should be like Spain when it comes to green jobs,” Bachmann told CNSNews.com. “Yet Spain has gleaned some of the highest levels of unemployment among Western European nations. For every green job that was created in Spain, 2.2 real jobs were lost,” Bachman said, referring to a study by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economist at Juan Carlos University in Madrid. “We cannot repeat this kind of job policy in the United States,” Bachmann added.

In his speech on Thursday, President Obama mentioned the need to compete with other countries on green energy.

“We’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root, not in China or Europe, but right here in the United States of America,” Obama said. “If we provide the right incentives, the right support -- and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules -- we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world. That’s how America can be number one again. And that’s how America will be number one again.”