Editor's note: The amount of Fisker Automotive's payment for principal due Monday to the Department of Energy was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Energy says it recovered $21 million in cash from struggling Fisker Automotive that will go toward repaying nearly $200 million in loans extended under a U.S. program to spur advanced vehicle development.
The Energy Department recouped the cash on April 11, DOE spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy said in a statement Monday.
"Given the obvious difficulties the company is facing, we are taking strong and appropriate action on behalf of taxpayers," the agency said in a statement.
A spokeswoman from Sitrick and Co., Fisker's outside public relations agency, declined to comment.
McCarthy said the agency recovered cash from Fisker's approximately $21 million reserve account -- funds that came from the company's sales and investors, not the department's loan.
Fisker, a maker of luxury plug-in cars, owes the U.S. government about $192 million of the $529 million credit line it received from the agency in 2009.
The company's first repayment of $10 million in principal on the Energy Department loan was due Monday.
It wasn't clear if the funds recovered on April 11 satisfied Monday's payment deadline.
The department suspended disbursements on the $529 million loan in June 2011 after Fisker fell short of U.S. sales and production milestones established as a condition of the loan.
Fisker, based in Anaheim, Calif., stopped manufacturing cars last summer and has about 50 employees after it laid off three quarters of its workers on April 5 to preserve cash.
It has retained Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a law firm with one of the largest U.S. bankruptcy practices.
A U.S. House panel is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on Fisker and its government financing.
Witnesses invited to attend the hearing include Fisker co-founder and namesake Henrik Fisker, who resigned last month; CEO Tony Posawatz and Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler, who helped start the company.
Ryan Beene, David Phillips, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.