Statement on President’s Budget Request for LIHEAP Funding: Dedicated LIHEAP funding sees technical cut; possible situational funding yields increaseBy Claire Krawsczyn In Congressional Profile, Legislative Updates, LIHEAP Blog/News Updates, Media Releases
Earlier today the President and his Administration submitted a FY2017 budget request recommending $3.0 billion for the core Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is a cut of nearly $400 million from last year’s core program amount and a funding level well below the $4.7 billion consistently requested by the advocacy field, including social service groups, Mayors, community leaders, and additional LIHEAP stakeholders and supporters. However, the President included two new proposals: the creation of a $560 million LIHEAP Contingency Fund and a new, multi-agency Family Energy Assistance Fund with a first-year budget of $1.4 billion. The field awaits more information about these new proposals and their potential impact on low-income families and vulnerable households in need of energy and utility assistance.
“While we respect the competitive nature and complexity of federal budget requests, now is not the time to reduce the dedicated core funding of our nation’s support of low-income families,” said Campaign for Home Energy Assistance Chair Michael Bracy. “LIHEAP is, for many families, a basic matter of safety and health. With winter storms surpassing records and summer heat increasing every year, reducing federal funding to this program further reduces the number of families who will receive assistance and increases their risk during times of need.”
In late 2014, a bipartisan group of 87 mayors from across 20 states submitted a letter to the President requesting $4.7 billion. Following this, in June 2015, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Congress to increase funding and the appropriations of the LIHEAP to $4.7 billion in FY2016. A cut to $3.0 billion would have devastating results for economically vulnerable citizens nationwide.
Regarding additional sources of potential funding – innovations in the field are welcome, particularly when they come with access to appropriate resources, and the Administration’s combined proposal of $4.96 billion for energy assistance sends an important signal to Congress that energy assistance remains at a critical level of need for funding. The Campaign will continue to work on Capitol Hill to ensure that Congress focuses on core LIHEAP funding while also considering its investments in new innovations.
As we work to gather more information, we encourage LIHEAP supporters to add your organizations to the national LIHEAP All Parties Letter to show your support for $4.7 billion in core LIHEAP program funding. You can access the letter here: http://bit.ly/
President’s Budget; Photo courtesy of Politico