DES MOINES, Iowa- Longtime Congressman Leonard Boswell faces a real head scratcher of a decision Friday when he steps up to cast his vote on the ‘No More Solyndras Act’ in the U.S. House of Representatives.
If Boswell votes for the measure it will be an admission to Iowa taxpayers that his glowing support and vote for his 2009 failed stimulus was a big, costly mistake. If he votes against the taxpayer protection measure he will be doubling down on his $825 billion bad gamble that produced broken promises, massive debt and increasing scrutiny.
“There is one thing that longtime Congressman Leonard Boswell and the voters of Iowa have in common – they are both scared of his record,” noted Latham for Congress Campaign Manager Annie Kelly. “And unfortunately Congressman Boswell can’t hide or two-step his way out of today’s voting predicament. Will he admit his vote for the Boswell stimulus was an expensive failure using hardworking taxpayer dollars or will he double down on the bad bet that has failed in its promise to lower unemployment?”
“Congressman Boswell has certainly gotten himself into an interesting predicament,” added Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker. “By voting for the massive stimulus boondoggle, he ensured our children and grandchildren will for years be paying back money that was borrowed in order to give sweetheart deals to Democratic campaign donors. Today will he admit he was wrong and stand with current and future taxpayers or will he stand with Nancy Pelosi and vote to allow more reckless programs?”
Friday’s vote is on the “No More Solyndras Act” (H.R. 6213), co-sponsored by Tom Latham. It is a taxpayer protection measure that resulted from the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s extensive investigation into the Department of Energy’s $535 million stimulus-funded loan guarantee made in 2009 to Solyndra, the California solar panel manufacturer that ultimately went bankrupt last September. The committee’s investigation revealed DOE’s loan guarantee program to be poorly managed and lacking sufficient safeguards for American taxpayers. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011, and two days later was raided by the FBI.
THE BOSWELL STIMULUS BACKGROUND: On February 13, 2009, longtime Congressman Leonard Boswell voted for final passage of his $825 billion stimulus package.That same day Boswell released a statement on his vote stating, “Although I am concerned with the cost of the overall package and what huge deficits our children and grandchildren will be facing, I still maintain that we cannot just sit on the sidelines and do nothing.”
Tom Latham stood on principle and voted against the proposal, releasing a statement on the day of his no vote stating, “This is the most selfish bill I have ever seen generationally. Today we are saying to our children and grandchildren: “We don’t care about you or your future because we just want self-gratification now. We want to feel better today. We can’t take any pain ourselves or truly work together to find a better way to address this crisis. Our kids and grandchildren are going to be the ones who end up paying for this and it will no doubt limit their opportunities.”
Three and a half years and $825 billion later, the results are clear. Instead of producing an economic recovery, the Boswell stimulus produced only broken promises and massive debt.
The promise by those who wrote and voted for the stimulus was that it would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. Unemployment went up after enactment and has been stuck above 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch in monthly records going back to 1948.
Recent reports have speculated that Boswell’s stimulus did in fact create jobs. Unfortunately, the reports note that those jobs created were not in the U.S. but actually outsourced to foreign firms and workers funded by American taxpayers.
Growing scrutiny is also focused on the misuse of Boswell’s blank check stimulus vote. Earlier this year the Washington Post found that $3.9 billion in stimulus-funded federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.
Shortly after the bill was enacted into law, it was discovered that Boswell’s stimulus included a loophole that allowed AIG executives to receive millions in bonuses after receiving massive federal assistance from Boswell’s Wall Street Bailout/TARP vote.
Other taxpayer- funded gems from the Boswell stimulus bonanza include:
- A $50,000 grant for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, “the world’s only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla”
- A $25,000 grant to help fund the weekly production of “Perverts Put Out” at San Francisco’s CounterPULSE, whose “long-running pansexual performance series invites guests to join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun”
- A $25,000 grant for “The Symmetry Project,” a dance piece by choreographer Jess Curtis which “depicts the sharing of a central axis, [as] spine, mouth, genitals, face, and anus reveal their interconnectedness and centrality in embodied experience, according to a description offered on Curtis’ Web site”
- A $219,000 grant for a psychology professor at Syracuse University to study the “hookups” of 500 freshmen women
- $850,000 for a backup runway, which can handle the largest commercial jets, named after Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), at the Murtha Johnstown-Cambria Airport, served by only six commercial flights a week on small planes
- $3.4 million for a wildlife crossing, otherwise known as an “eco-passage”, which will serve as an underground wildlife road-crossing for turtles and other animals that live in Lake Jackson, Fla.
- $9.3 million to renovate an old train station building built in the early 1900s that “has sat vacant for more than 30 years”
- Millions to dead people from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which blames a strict mid-June deadline for mailing out $250 checks to 10,000 deceased persons.
Update: Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) did vote in favor of this act joining Congressman Steve King (R-IA), Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) and Congressman David Loebsack (D-IA). Congressman Bruce Braley is the only member of Iowa’s congressional delegation who voted against the H.R. 6213.
Congressman Latham in a statement released this afternoon on the vote. “I understand the belief that government ought to do something to help American businesses succeed, but allowing freewheeling, unaccountable bureaucrats to gamble billions of taxpayer dollars on certain companies is definitely not the way to do it,” Congressman Latham said. “Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, but the loan guarantee program created as part of the failed stimulus allows the Administration to place risky bets on one company over the other. The No More Solyndras Act, which I proudly cosponsored upon its introduction in the House, is a necessary step toward empowering the private sector over Washington.”