Bad Money After Worse: Democratic Congressman Pushes Bill For Federal Green Energy Bank


Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has redoubled his efforts to drum up grass-roots support for a piece of legislation that seeks to create a Federal bank dedicated solely to issuing loans for green-energy projects, five years after the same bill died in the Senate.

Van Hollen introduced the bill on April 30, and has been issuing urgent press releases and YouTube videos selling the idea.

Van Hollen’s plan would establish a Federal Green Bank out of an initial offering of $10 billion in Treasury bonds, supplemented by “the ability to acquire another $40 billion from Green Bonds,” as the Congressman explained.

“These funds will spur development of clean energy markets through loans, loan guarantees, debt securitizations, insurance, and other forms of financing support or risk management for qualified clean energy and energy efficiency projects,” Van Hollen’s press release states. “The legislation includes tax provisions on deductibility of foreign-related interest expenses to offset the Green Bank cost.”

Sound familiar?

When the bill first came before Congress in 2009, it passed the House before being killed off in the Senate. That was before the Solyndra collapse of 2011, which left the Federal government on the hook for nearly $400 million out of $536 million it had loaned the company through favorable terms under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act – as well as a host of lower-profile green-energy failures bankrolled by the Administration of President Barack Obama.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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