House Subcommittee Approves Bill That Includes Funding Increase For LIHEAP

July 8, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted July 8, 2020

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on July 7 approved its fiscal year 2021 bill, which includes a $25 million funding increase for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In total, the bill would provide $3.765 billion for LIHEAP.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies approved its FY 2021 bill by a vote of 9 to 6. For FY 2021, the draft bill includes $196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments.

APPA, other groups argued for fully funding LIHEAP at $5.1 billion

Prior to the vote, the American Public Power Association and several other trade groups on July 6 urged key lawmakers to fully fund LIHEAP at $5.1 billion in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies FY21 appropriations bill.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to provide a safety net for our most vulnerable American families,” APPA and the other groups said in their letter to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Ranking Member Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies,

Along with APPA, other groups signing on to the letter were the American Gas Association, American Public Gas Association, American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Energy & Fuels Institute, National Propane Gas Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment,” the letter noted. “Sensing the growing need for home energy assistance, this past spring in the CARES Act, Congress wisely appropriated an additional $900 million above the FY20 funding level of $3.74 billion to address the crisis.”

However, “for many, economic circumstances continue to deteriorate, and now it is clear that this additional funding will only scratch the surface of what families will need to stay afloat. LIHEAP eligible households have climbed from 35.2 million to 43.8 million in just a matter of weeks,” APPA and the other groups said.

House subcommittee clears FY 2021 energy appropriations bill

Meanwhile, the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies on July 7 approved by voice vote a $93 billion appropriations bill for fiscal year 2021.

Of that, $50 billion is from regular appropriations and another $43 billion is part of an “emergency” infrastructure package.

The bill includes $7.8 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy, $3.4 billion for electricity-related grants and projects, and funds for construction of the “Grid Storage Launchpad.”

In addition, the bill includes $1.3 billion for nuclear energy ($700,000,000/Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program; $192,300,000/Advanced Small Modular Reactor program).

The measure now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

A summary of the bill is available here.

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