Republicans pressed for hydrogen money while attacking clean energy funds
At the Republican national convention in Tampa later this month, the party’s stars are certain to trumpet their election-year mantra: the government needs to get out of the business of “picking winners and losers,” particularly in the energy sector.
Rep. Paul Ryan, now Mitt Romney's running mate, helped give life to that catch phrase more than a year ago in his Path to Prosperity budget plan –- saying the marketplace rather than government spending should decide which new energy technologies are successful. Romney himself, in his Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth, accuses the federal government of "chasing fads and picking winners."
Republican lawmakers picked up the line to rail against grants and loan guarantees that the Obama administration gave to clean energy “winners” like the now-failed Solyndra solar company or the struggling A123 battery maker while snubbing others who became the “losers.”
But what Republicans have preached in public hasn't always matched what they've practiced in private.
Congressional correspondence obtained by the Washington Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act shows Ryan and other prominent Republicans, including senior members of the House and Senate energy committees, petitioned the government behind the scenes for tens of millions of dollars to back their own clean energy favorites, particularly hydrogen fuel cells or more fuel-efficient vehicle power trains.
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