NEADA submitted written testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related Agencies requesting $4.7 billion in LIHEAP funding for FY 2017. The President’s budget would cut LIHEAP to $3 billion, a 12% cut from the FY 2016 level of $3.39 billion. This would be a severe blow to an already underfunded program that many of our neediest families rely on to keep their lights and furnaces on, and their life-saving medical devices running. The testimony 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 urges the subcommittees 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). Currently, grantees may transfer up to 15% of their LIHEAP budget to weatherization; up to 25% if they receive a waiver from HHS. However, the testimony supports the President’s proposal to include $560 million in contingency funds for LIHEAP, as long as it does not undermine the base funding for the program.
Finally, the testimony underscores the importance of LIHEAP for needy families, including examples of LIHEAP customers who’s lives have been changed by the program.