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“Apparently what the committee really wants is a confrontation with the president,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Mr. Waxman, a past chairman of the House's chief investigative committee, said he had issued many subpoenas, but never against a White House. He said he was always able to reach an agreement with administration attorneys and that’s what Republicans should try to do in this case.

Underscoring the level of disagreement, the two sides couldn’t even agree on whether it was better to have more, or fewer, documents turned over.

Republicans said many of the 80,000 pages sent to the committee were irrelevant technical papers. Democrats said that is a problem that comes with broad requests and that the Republicans’ expansive inquiry could end up producing so much information that it hinders the investigation.

The White House has sent several letters objecting to the broad request. It says the committee already has obtained documents from Cabinet departments and that Congress doesn’t need to see the White House documents.

“We believe agency communications with the White House are the best source of information to accommodate the committee’s interest in this matter,” Kathryn H. Ruemmler, the White House’s chief attorney, said in an Oct. 25 letter.

She said the White House has an interest in confidentiality of its internal communications.

But Republicans said the White House has not claimed executive privilege, which is one of the exceptions that could make some documents off-limits to a congressional investigation.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is scheduled to testify on Solyndra at a Nov. 17 committee meeting.

Late Wednesday, another House panel, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to Mr. Chu saying he has failed to answer questions on a round of loan guarantees that the Energy Department finalized on Sept. 30.

Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, set a deadline of Monday for the Energy Department to produce the information.