Discussions are underway on federal funding for fiscal year 2017, and LIHEAP advocates want a seat at the table. At least two leading organizations submitted testimony last week that called on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other related groups on Capitol Hill to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at $4.7B in FY2017.
In its testimony, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) made several specific points, including the importance of restoring the program’s funding to proper levels, which is agreed to be at least $4.7B by program advocates and supporters. NEADA also requested “advance funding for FY 2018 to ensure LIHEAP offices receive funding in time to begin the winter heating season in the event of a delayed federal budget.” The testimony also called on Congress to “reject the President’s proposal to broaden the weatherization set-aside to a maximum of 40% of a grantee’s LIHEAP budget without requiring approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),” a limit that has the potential to further reduce funds available to qualifying LIHEAP participants. NEADA’s complete testimony is available on the organization’s website.
The Coalition of Northeast Governors (CONEG) also submitted testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other Related Agencies urging them to fund LIHEAP at the same $4.7B funding level. In its testimoney, CONEG writes: “[CONEG members] urge you to fund the core block grant program at the level of no less than $4.7 billion in FY2017, and to provide the funds in a manner that is consistent with the LIHEAP statutory objective of addressing those households with the highest energy burden while also ensuring that the full appropriated funds are released to the states in a timely manner.” CONEG has expressed strong support for LIHEAP, as many Northeastern states are the hardest hit with winter weather and rely on LIHEAP funds to assist citizens with keeping utilities on during times of dangerously low temperatures.
The Campaign for Home Energy Assistance applauds these organizations and many others who regularly voice their support for LIHEAP and call on Congress to consider the impact that the program has on hundreds of thousands of families and communities across the United States. The Campaign also supports the call for $4.7B in federal funding and will continue to advocate on behalf of the program.