The Biden administration is now reviewing a $200 million grant it planned to award a Chinese Communist Party-linked lithium-ion battery maker, after a number of Republican lawmakers demanded answers in recent months.
Earlier this month, the Republican delegation of Arkansas sent a letter to the Biden Department of Energy, demanding why it had selected the company, Microvast, for a $200 million federal grant meant to help American manufacturing companies compete with Chinese ones.
Arkansas Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, and Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman wrote to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm on February 7, demanding answers by February 21.
“If the goal of this funding is to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign entities for critical minerals, why would DOE award funding to a company with obvious ties to the CCP?” they asked Granholm.
On February 16, Bloomberg News reported that the Biden administration was now reviewing the grant for Microvast “amid criticism about the company’s ties to China” and “as part of a broader evaluation of similar awards made in the sector.”
The review is reportedly happening in consultation with the DOE’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, among other agencies.
Cotton said in an exclusive comment to Breitbart News:
A grant meant to help secure American supply chains from Chinese influence should never go to a Chinese company that admitted the CCP ‘exerts substantial influence’ over it. I’m pleased DOE is heeding our call to reconsider this backward decision.
The grant was from a fund created under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was meant to help America become less reliant on China for critical supplies, such as lithium-ion battery cells. Over 200 companies had competed for the grants, but only 20 companies received awards. Microvast, which maintains a “substantial portion” of its operations in China, was one of the 20 chosen.
Microvast is owned by holdings company Microvast Holdings Inc. In a December 14, 2021, filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Microvast Holdings Inc. stated, “A substantial portion of our facilities are currently located in the People’s Republic of China, which we refer to as the ‘PRC’ or ‘China,'” as Breitbart News previously reported.
The grant had drawn scrutiny from a number of other Republicans in the House and Senate as well.
House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) wrote to Granholm last month that the DOE has an “apparent lack of sufficient guardrails in place to prevent federal funds from ultimately benefiting” China, that “raises serious concerns about the Department’s ability to protect US taxpayer dollars from exploitation,” according to Bloomberg.
Microvast had announced in February 2021 that it was planning to build a facility in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Tennessee is at the forefront of the electric vehicle evolution, and we’re proud that Microvast will continue this important work in our state. Clarksville’s highly-skilled workforce is well-equipped for these additional jobs, and we welcome this $220 million investment. https://t.co/KXNlbEpCBh
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) February 10, 2021
However, on Monday, Clarksville Now reported that the facility would not be built in Clarksville after all, citing the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board (IDB).
“In October, the company received word of a $200 million federal grant to fund such a facility and initially said the facility would be built here. But now it seems that will not see fruition in Clarksville,” the site reported.
“Microvast will continue to improve and expand at their current location off International Boulevard. The expansion project, funded by the Department of Energy, will happen outside of Clarksville Montgomery County due to the utility demand and infrastructure costs associated with the new development,” Josh Ward, director of Economic Development at the IDB, told Clarksville Now.
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