Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) grilled President Joe Biden’s Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, for allowing her department to award a $200 million grant to a lithium battery company that “primarily” operates in China.
Schmitt pressed Granholm on allowing her department to give a significant grant to a battery company that “primarily” operates in China during Wednesday’s Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing after she claimed the Biden administration wants “energy to be abundant” and made in the United States.
“I want to ask you about Microvast, which is a lithium battery company that operates primarily out of the People’s Republic of China. Your agency granted $200 million worth of a grant to this company. You’re aware of this, correct,” Schmitt asked the secretary.
Schmitt also referenced a letter that senators sent to the secretary about the “security protocols” in the vetting process before handing the taxpayer-funded cash. He was referring to the Republican Arkansas delegation’s letter to Granholm in February, which also asked why a federal grant aimed at making America less reliant on China was being awarded to Microvast.
Granholm answered by claiming that there is a vetting process for all companies before they are handed the taxpayer-funded cash to “ensure that there are not, there’s no money flowing to countries of concern.” She later added, “We [the administration] don’t want to see the dollars going to any countries of concern we want them to be.”
Schmitt followed up by asking if it was Granholm’s “commitment that no dollars will go to any company, any energy company taking advantage of either tax credits or grants that are owned by China [or] by a Chinese company.” She said, “No state-owned enterprise will get funding from the bipartisan [infrastructure bill].”
Then, the freshman senator wanted to clarify if her commitment would include companies that have material operations in China, acknowledging the problem the United States has with China stealing intellectual property.
“I think we’re using this CFIUS vetting program to be able to identify exactly where their control is of a particular technology and country. We want to make sure … we are the beneficiaries of those acts and not others,” she claimed.
The senator was referring to the Department of Energy using the so-called “Bipartisan” Infrastructure Law to give Microvast — which described itself in its 2021 annual SEC report as a “holding company” that conducts its business “principally through our subsidiary in China” — $200 million in grant money to help shift the county to green energy.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.