Updates from The Hill

President's Budget Request Eliminates LIHEAP Funding Despite Congressional Support

Washington, DC – In today’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request to Congress, President Trump’s Administration repeated last year’s recommendation that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) be eliminated.

The request is unwarranted, particularly from the perspective of energy assistance advocates. LIHEAP is regarded as a crucial program with vast bi-partisan support that provides temporary assistance to qualifying households, especially those with seniors, Veterans, individuals with disabilities or families with school-aged children, who are struggling with extreme poverty or financial shocks and cannot keep their utilities on during the extreme cold of winter or heat of summer.

“We are deeply disappointed with today’s recommendation,” said Campaign for Home Energy Assistance director Michael Bracy. “That being said, our organization and thousands of energy-assistance advocates across the nation will continue to support increased funding to the program. At its current levels, LIHEAP can only serve a small portion of families in need, and we will continue to work with key decision makers to spread awareness of the program’s impact across the nation and raise funding to a commensurate level.”

LIHEAP’s current funding levels support 6.7 million American households, but there are millions more who could receive assistance based on the program’s qualifications. The average LIHEAP grant is estimated to cover less than half of the average home heating/cooling costs for households, meaning that many low-income families and seniors have fewer resources available to meet other basic needs.

LIHEAP supporters have regularly called on Congress and the Administration to increase funding. Despite repeated requests for increased funding from the field and unwavering support from local communities and action agencies, federal support of the program has declined in recent years. Since FY2010, total funding for the program has decreased from $5.1 billion to $3.39 billion, where it has remained since FY2015.

The Campaign will continue to engage with policymakers on Capitol Hill and LIHEAP advocates across the country to educate individuals, families and lawmakers about the importance of LIHEAP for many low-income families. For the latest news and information on LIHEAP, visit www.liheap.org.

For a downloadable copy of this statement, click here.

Leaders, Communities Vehemently Reject LIHEAP Elimination

LIHEAP Supporters Rally to Share Impact of Program Across the Nation

Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown

Many political pundits – including an alarmed club of conservative commentators – are arguing that the biggest falsehood of the White House’s newly released budget comes with the claim that “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.”  A statistically proven falsehood with real voices of those affected by the threat of cuts standing ready to dispute the notion that LIHEAP wasn’t performing above and beyond expectations given its demand exceeding available funding b standing ready to dispute the notion that LIHEAP wasn’t performing above and beyond expectations, with legendary Republican Senate Institution John McCain – whose summer heat victims in Arizona have long benefited from LIHEAP’s shade – made the flat-out declaration this week that “it is clear that this budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate.”

As President Donald Trump’s budget was released last week, its bad news for LIHEAP funding was proudly and loudly countered with the good news that Republicans and Democrats alike were saying “NO!” to a program they’ve seen help – and in some cases save the lives of – their most vulnerable constituents.  Each national news outlet in their coverage seemed to appreciate the unique importance LIHEAP plays in the communities they report on day in and out, as was reflected in the extra word-count devoted to underscoring just how significant the threat was to the real lives of real people, beginning with the general warning sirens that began blasting across the media airwaves.