Asked to grade his own performance as secretary of the Department of Energy so far, Sec. Steven Chu said Thursday he would give himself "maybe an A-." Chu was speaking at a Committee On Science, Space, And Technology hearing.
REP. PAUL BROUN (R., Ga.): "Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary I believe that the federal government should not be picking winners and losers in the market place. Seems to me the DOE has repeatedly proven that this Administration is clueless when it comes to making good business investments and that it also tends to side with political crony companies. Unfortunately the Department’s political favors come with more than a billion dollar price tag that will have to be paid for by American taxpayers. Time and time again we’ve seen companies like Abound, Solar, Beacon Power, A123 batteries and, of course, Solyndra, receive millions and billions of dollars just to drop jobs. In addition to those 465,000 or 465 million that went to Tesla Motors to make a luxury electric car with a sticker price of $100,000. Worst kind of corporate welfare. In the President’s energy budget, the few people who would be able to afford those cars would receive a $10,000 tax subsidy. How can President Obama justify asking for more than a half a billion dollars in additional funding for his preferred green programs? Secretary Chu you tell me why you think your department deserves more taxpayer money to blow through given your abysmal track record. What grade would you say you deserve for your management of the DOE resources over the last three years?"
SEC. STEVEN CHU: "Well I would give myself a pretty good grade because if you look at what we’ve done, and what we’ve supported, and the breakthroughs that have occurred during this tenure, I think it speaks very well. As I said before, that battery research has been going extremely well, way ahead of what we thought was the schedule. We’re very focused on a lot of the good technologies on solar technologies, and as another example, the bioenergy, the bioenergy centers that which were started under the previous administration have done extremely well and we’re continuing funding those. A lot of the inventions and technologies are now being licensed by companies and they’re entering into pilot production. So there are many successes in the technologies that the Department of Energy has supported and the private sector, American industry, are picking up these technologies."
BROUN: "So what grade would you give yourself?"
CHU: "Oh -"
BROUN: "A to F, what grade would you give yourself?"
CHU: "There’s always room for improvement, maybe an A-."