President Obama shot a “rude and dismissive” response to a Democratic congressman who asked him Wednesday about his struggle to obtain a federal loan for an energy company in his home district.
Obama met separately with House Democrats and Senate Democrats Wednesday in a bid to shore up support in his caucus after a slew of administration scandals and an inter-party rift over reforming the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
First-term New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney asked Obama a question about a Department of Energy loan application filed by Taylor BioMass, a company in Maloney’s district that the congressman thinks could create 300 new jobs with a federal loan. Maloney acknowledged that perhaps his question was better-suited for a White House staffer.
“You’re right. You should have talked to staff about this,” Obama replied, leading at least one observer to deem Obama’s response “rude and dismissive.”
“I am the youngest of five brothers – I’ve been in a headlock before and it’s all in good fun,” Maloney said about the exchange.
The owners of Taylor BioMass are seeking $100 million in federal renewable energy loan guarantees and $33 million in federal cash grants.
In May 2013, a review of DOE documents revealed that Taylor BioMass’ “waste gasification project” in Orange County, New York would create more pollution than is allowed for a project to receive a clean energy loan guarantee, and its facility was identified as a “significant credit risk” by Standard & Poor’s.