There has been a wave of good and bad news this past week regarding the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. On the positive side, Secretary Chu announced on Friday that the Department would be adding an additional compliance period for the Innovative Solicitation. The current deadline for the Part I application under the program is August 24th. Secretary Chu announced the applications would be accepted until October 5th thus providing six more weeks of time to applicants. Secretary Chu did not extend the Part II deadline and cannot extend the September 30, 2011 start construction deadline as that deadline was established by the Stimulus Bill itself. Still, the extension was generally viewed as a respite and perhaps an indication of a willingness to further extend the program.
On the bad news side, the Senate approved the FMAP state aid bill to avert teacher layoffs and pay for Medicaid which is to be funded in part by taking $1.5 billion in funds that the Stimulus Bill appropriated to the DOE Loan Guarantee program. Clearly driven by Pay-Go requirements, this is a reminder of the $2.0 billion fleecing that the Loan Guarantee Program suffered when Cash for Clunkers program was passed. While it has been promised that the funds will be restored, the fact that the Cash for Clunkers funding has not yet been restored raises concern about whether the restoration will occur.