LIHEAP News Alert: Administration’s budget proposes significant cuts to HHS programs

Administration’s budget proposes significant cuts to Department of Health and Human Services programs


The President’s fiscal year 2020 (FY20) budget proposal requests $87.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, representing an 11.9% decrease from the 2019 estimated level of funding and potentially impacting the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

This 2020 budget proposal lacks detail, but the 2019 budget proposal indicated that LIHEAP would be completely eliminated in 2020 and all subsequent years (page 147).
 
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration does not necessarily value programs like LIHEAP that serve those most in need,” said Katrina Metzler, Executive Director of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC).  “However, Congress has protected funding for LIHEAP for the past two years and we are certain our policymakers, who understand the impact of the funding, will do so again. Our champions on the Hill are resolute in their support.”
 
Residential energy is a life-critical resource, and LIHEAP was designed to help our nation’s most vulnerable households manage energy burdens and crises during cold winters and hot summers. 
 
Metzler said, “I want to thank Congress for its strong, bipartisan support of LIHEAP in 2017 and 2018. Our policymakers demonstrated that LIHEAP is a national priority by providing additional, critical resources to reach more at-risk Americans. LIHEAP saves lives and continues to be an essential resource to help protect the elderly, disabled, unemployed, and families with young children. The need is great.”
 
NEUAC has called on Congress to protect its constituents by sustaining LIHEAP and increasing funding to $5.1 billion this year to help address substantial energy poverty across the nation. This improvement will ensure the continuation of a vital safety net for those who struggle to pay their bills every month, even with hard work and sacrifice.
 
Despite a growing economy, 2017 U.S. Census data shows that 28.8 million Americans are eligible for LIHEAP. According to the National Energy Assistance Survey, 92 percent of LIHEAP households include at least one person who is elderly, disabled, or younger than the age of 18.
  
NEUAC supports LIHEAP because it reduces the energy burden for low-income families and preserves the dignity of those living in poverty by ensuring access to basic resources.
 
Appendices with more detailed program numbers are expected to be released on March 18. NEUAC will keep you apprised of any additional details that are released. 

For questions on LIHEAP or NEUAC, please contact Executive Director Katrina Metzler at 202-530-2210 or info@neuac.org, or visit NEUAC at www.neuac.org.
 
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The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, is a broad-based coalition of diverse member organizations and individuals dedicated to heightening awareness of the energy needs of low income energy consumers, fostering public-private partnerships and engaging in educational activities to help address these needs.


About NEUAC 

The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) is a leader in the fields of public policy, advocacy, energy and poverty issues.  Members of the organization include utilities, non-profit organizations, energy assistance programs, trade associations and tribal organizations.

NEUAC currently serves more than 160 member organizations that span the nation. NEUAC provides its members with the tools to advocate for LIHEAP and other funding to support low-income families, as well as knowledge of government policies and initiatives and other resources to solve low income issues.  The organization bridges the gap between states, social service organizations and government to empower them to work together and learn from each other in times of energy and poverty crisis. 

Since its founding in 2014 following the merger of the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) and National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC), NEUAC also has committed itself to its advocacy and education initiatives by expanding the depth and breadth of LIHEAP Advocacy Day and the NEUAC Annual National Conference, which are the highest attended and most respected events in our field, serving as many as 700 people.

This news release originally appeared on NEUAC.org.