Save LIHEAP FAQ
The President only released a “skinny” budget, or budget blueprint, that proposed these sweeping changes, including the elimination of LIHEAP. His full budget proposal is expected to be presented to Congress in June. These five steps summarize the budget process, in short:
The President submits a budget request to Congress
- The House and Senate pass budget resolutions
- House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees “markup” appropriations bills
- The House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and reconcile differences
- The President signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law.
Therefore, no, the President cannot eliminate funding for the program without Congress.
A Continuing Resolution (CR) would keep us at level funding for LIHEAP, but if sequestration comes into play, that could mean a cut. Some other groups are choosing to focus on sequestration and avoiding that cut – we would prefer a more positive outcome, such as an omnibus that could potentially increase LIHEAP funding by the $100 million proposed last year by the House. Building upon that, for either FY17 (current fiscal year) or FY18, Congress would have to pass an appropriations bill (Omnibus/Minibus/CR with anomalies [surgical changes within a CR to impact particular programs]) to increase/decrease/eliminate LIHEAP. For that to happen, it would need a majority in the House, 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, and the President’s signature. Congress has struggled to return to “regular order” as it relates to appropriations, and that is unlikely to change.
Most bills to pass need a majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate (to overcome a filibuster) before going to the President.
LIHEAP already is a block grant. The concern is that LIHEAP would be assimilated as part of a roster of many grants that become merged, and then the character of the program would be lost. We are not there yet – instead of a block grant, the Administration has proposed the elimination of the grant entirely. At the same time, it’s possible that a “super block grant” strategy will be employed down the line. We are in uncharted territory.
All LIHEAP programming, including the “heat-and-eat” programs, has been proposed for elimination in the FY18 budget blueprint by the Trump Administration.
It is being discussed. We will post any events or plans with as much notice as possible at the top of the page on www.SaveLIHEAP.org.
Despite lower applications for LIHEAP in some service territories, the need is not decreasing. It is a matter of designing a thoughtful program that meets the unique needs in each state and takes into account fluctuations in energy prices, local resources available to leverage with LIHEAP, and needs of the eligible population.
To address this, states can start with a thoughtful review of LIHEAP State Plans to ensure they are crafting a plan that takes advantage of all flexibility allowable to address the needs of those struggling in their state, given all its unique strengths, needs and challenges. As a block grant, LIHEAP has a great deal of flexibility, and regardless of numbers of crisis applications, the funding is very much needed and there is no reason to turn back funding. Weatherization, furnace replacement, summer cooling programs and other allowable expenditures are all ways LIHEAP can be used to reduce energy burden.
It’s also possible that our outreach systems are not reaching families with young children or others struggling with situational poverty.
The message to our congressional offices should focus on need and state data archived on www.SaveLIHEAP.org that demonstrates LIHEAP funding is effectively addressing energy poverty and vulnerable populations, exactly as it was designed.
States are increasing grants and transferring to Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP). We haven’t heard of many that are having trouble with the carryover amount.
As 3/30/17, 1038 organizations have signed the All-Parties letter. Visit neuac.org/advocacy/2018-all-parties-letter/ to view the organizations that support LIHEAP.
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