House Republicans ask Trump to shut down DOE program by falsely claiming that Tesla received $4.6B in subsidies


Yesterday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus in the House of Representative, met with President-elect Donald Trump to push his group agenda with a list of 232 regulations that they are asking the president to repeal immediately after he takes office next month.

The full list is embedded below and it includes some significant cuts in virtually all federal departments, but there’s one that stands out to us in the Department of Energy. Not as much because of the program itself, the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, which would be expected to be on the hit list of the House Freedom Caucus, but because of the justification for getting rid of the program.

For each of the 232 regulations, Meadows added a quick note explaining why the House Freedom Caucus thinks it should be repealed. They are very simplistic and don’t go into much detail, which is highlighted perfectly in this note about the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program:

“Billions of dollars have been sunk into this program for years. In fact, Elon Musk, the Tesla guy, has been subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of $4.6 billion.”

The figure appears to be a misquote from the debunked “$4.9 billion in government support” that some media reported last year.

The justification makes no sense since the Department of Energy and its Alternative Fuel Transportation Program had little to nothing to do with that figure. Out of the $4.9 billion, only for $2.4 billion allegedly went to Tesla, and as we reported in our breakdown of the number at the time, it’s a stretch since Tesla has received only a fraction of that amount.

The only money that came from the DOE in the amount listed by Meadows was a $465 million loan from the department through its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. Through the program, which aims to increase vehicle manufacturing in the US, Ford was awarded $5.9 billion and Nissan $1.4 billion, among others.

Furthermore, Tesla paid back the loan in full and with interest in 2013 – 9 years in advance.

While the justification certainly makes no sense, it is interesting to see the conservative caucus of the House of Representative trying to paint Tesla, or rather Elon Musk, “the Tesla guy,” as the main recipient of subsidies in the eyes of Trump – especially after Trump appointed Musk to his Strategic and Policy Team.

Here’s the full list of regulations that they are asking the president to repeal immediately after he takes office next month.:

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