Cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt and Libya would be “premature” – despite attacks at U.S. embassies in those countries that killed four Americans – Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey tells Newmax.TV.
“We’ve been funding Egypt to the tune of about $1.5 billion for a long time, most of it going to their military,” the Republican congressman tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “When Mubarak was still in office, that seemed to work well.
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“But I would say that to withdraw funding at this point would be premature. I want to have time to look at that and think about it – and the same thing is true in Libya,” Gingrey added. “My hope and prayers are that this government in Libya will be stable – and if we immediately withdraw any funding to places like Libya, but particularly Egypt, then that could be very counterproductive if we’re not careful.”
Gingrey, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is among several congressmen supporting the No More Solyndras Act in the House. The bill would effectively eliminate the U.S. Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.
Solyndra is a failed solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee under the program. The company’s collapse prompted congressional scrutiny of President Barack Obama, who praised the company during a May 2010 tour of its California operations.
The company was the first to receive a loan guarantee under Obama’s stimulus program. Argonaut Ventures, the investment arm of billionaire and Obama fundraiser George Kaiser’s charitable organization, owned nearly 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent company.
Gingrey disputed a February news report saying that the House investigation “turned up no evidence of wrongdoing” within the Obama White House on Solyndra.
“That is an inaccurate statement. The very narrow question may have been whether there was a point-to-point connection between the Obama re-election team and the folks that got these loans and were they paid back? That’s an unanswered question.
“But without a doubt, these loans were made without proper oversight, without looking into the viability of the business model,” Gingrey added. “The folks in the Department of Energy who were supposed to be doing the due diligence with the tax payers’ money, they failed the test of due diligence miserably.”
Turning his attention to healthcare, Gingrey said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has “got some work to do” in selling voters on his plans to reform Medicare. He is an obstetrician-gynecologist who co-chairs a group of 21 lawmakers with health-care backgrounds.
“Our message will be told – and it will be told very effectively, especially with Paul Ryan having literally written the House budget that included some of the voluntary changes to the Medicare program.”
And Romney was not inappropriate in endorsing certain portions of Obamacare, either, Gingrey said.
“People need to understand that even the physician members of the Congress would take certain health insurance-reform issues, such as not denying coverage after the fact and allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health insurance policy until at least age 26.
“We’re not opposed to that. In fact, we’re in favor of that – and that’s exactly what Gov. Romney was speaking to. Of course, these young people wouldn’t need to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy if we had an administration that cared about job creation.
“They spent two years cramming a third entitlement program down the throats of American people,” he added. “Healthcare for all – and all the while the unemployment rate was above 8 percent and remained there for 44 straight months. So they were fiddling while Rome was burning.”
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