Dingell: We Are Protesting A Sweeping Blank Check Without Justification

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(Courtesy of John D. Dingell website)

Subpoena is unnecessary, unprecedented, and we need to instead focus on investing in innovative technologies to put America back to work

Washington, D.C.  – Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) spoke at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations business meeting to condemn the consideration of a motion authorizing the issuance of subpoenas for records of the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President.

Representative Dingell expressed his appreciation for the oversight and concern regarding the Solyndra guarantee, but conveyed his dismay that the Republicans on the Subcommittee did not include the Democrats in their investigations from the beginning.  He also voiced consternation the Subcommittee has not met its own due diligence requirements to find documents.  He believes issuing a subpoena is premature,  unnecessary and unprecedented, and that a subpoena assumes conclusions without hearing from all parties involved.

“In my 14 years as Chairman, I sometimes threatened the use of a subpoena but never did it. I was able to negotiate with the Administration a deal that allowed the Committee to see all relevant information and  examine pertinent White House documents.  We considered a subpoena a last resort.  Twelve of the 14 years I served as Chairman were with Republican presidents and I was able to avoid the step it looks like we’re going to take today.”

In response to the Majority staff’s claims that the White House has been uncooperative, Dingell said, “I’m not satisfied at this time that the Subcommittee has made the maximum use of the information trail they’ve been following.  Why have we not heard more from DOE?  They have voluntarily provided tens of thousands of pages of documents without being issued a subpoena.  Do none of those documents require clarification through an oversight hearing?  Why are we now making the leap to issue a White House subpoena with so little pertinent testimony on record?”

Representative Dingell points out that instead of focusing on a comprehensive energy bill to invest in innovative technologies, create jobs, and ensure America’s continued leadership in the energy industry, his colleagues on the other side of the aisle are conducting a witch-hunt with 2 goals: first to go after the President and second to attempt to lay the ground-work for dismantling the very federal programs designed to help American companies compete with countries that are willing to invest in the future.

In the last hearing, he expressed his concern that the Subcommittee is missing the larger picture of lessons to be learned from Solyndra.  “Just because a company fails doesn’t mean the entire industry will also.  We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water.  The solar industry has doubled its workforce since 2009 and is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in America.  Further, we have witnessed the positive impact federal investment can have in an industry in the example of the American auto manufacturers who have bounced back as strong and competitive as ever after nearly collapsing several years ago.”

Dingell points out that General Motors is now building the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range vehicle that uses an electric battery to power the car and then switches to gasoline after the battery charge is expended.  While the Volt is manufactured in Southeast Michigan and the battery pack is assembled in Michigan’s 15th Congressional District, the cells are still Korean-made.  If America hopes to grow the electric vehicle market for American auto companies, the supply chain cannot be solely dependent on a country halfway around the world.  America must create and develop the ingenuity here to research and manufacture things like batteries for electric vehicles and solar technology here in America so that our auto companies and those that do business in America can look to the United States for the next great leap in innovation.

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