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Tulsa World DC Report No More Solyndras Act on Hold
Tulsa World - By Randy Krehbiel
A bill phasing out the loan program that guaranteed the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation's investment in the failed solar panel company Solyndra is hung up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power subcommittee.
The bill - called, in fact, the No More Solyndras Act - was supposed to go through mark-up (the process by which committees and subcommittees finalize legislation) on Thursday, but subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., held it over. Whitfield said the 15 proposed amendments to the bill made it impossible to consider this week.
Several sources, however, reported the real problem was that some Republican committee members don't want the loan program abolished because it provides loan guarantees for a wide range of energy development. At least two Republicans said as much during a hearing on the matter last week.
The Solyndra controversy and the bill have put 1st District Congressman John Sullivan, the subcommittee vice chairman, in something of an awkward spot because it has made his constituent Kaiser a favorite target of Sullivan's GOP colleagues.
Inhofe grills nominees on "green" military: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe took advantage of an Armed Services Committee hearing on three command nominations to renew his attack on the Obama administration's green military initiative.
"I've been deeply disturbed, as have other members of this committee, on the use of the military for other agendas such as the green agenda," Inhofe said.
"It is a disgrace the president is willing to put our military at risk with aging equipment by cutting the C-130 program so he can push his progressive EPA agenda through the wrong department."
Inhofe's comments came as the U.S. Navy was concluding exercises off Hawaii using biofuel-powered planes and ships, including an aircraft carrier and FA-18 jets.
According to published reports, the Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuel made from algae and cooking oil for a half-and-half mix with petroleum-based fuel.
The mixed fuel cost about $15 a gallon, the biofuel by itself $27 a gallon.
Inhofe and other Republicans say the biofuel costs too much, while administration officials say that cost will come down, particularly in relation to oil-based fuel, as biofuel production ramps up and oil becomes more expensive.
The House has already passed legislation barring the military from buying alternative fuels that cost more than traditional fuels.
House Republicans push leadership for Farm Bill vote: 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, kept a low profile last week, but other Republicans, including 5th District Congressman James Lankford, pushed party leadership for a vote on the House farm bill.
The bill won broad bipartisan support in Lucas' committee, but leadership is reluctant to bring it to a floor vote, at least in part because of its $16 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - commonly known as food stamps. The cuts are too deep for most Democrats and not deep enough for some Republicans.
But, with more than half the nation under drought conditions, farmers and other agriculture interests are worried they'll be left without crop insurance or price supports if the current farm bill is allowed to expire.
Lankford was one of 62 House members of both parties signing a letter to Rep. John Boehner asking that the bill be brought to the House floor.
Online: Tulsa World