The Trump administration has proposed to eliminate LIHEAP in the 2019 budget, but can the president really do that? Who has the authority to eliminate the program?

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:

  1. The President submits a budget request to Congress
  2. The House and Senate pass budget resolutions
  3. House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees “markup” appropriations bills
  4. The House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and reconcile differences
  5. The President signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law.

Therefore, no, the President cannot eliminate funding for the program without Congress.

How many votes are needed for the affirmative bill to pass?

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.

If LIHEAP is funded, what is the position of NEADA and NEUAC on a block grant?

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.

Would the elimination of LIHEAP also disable states from implementing “heat-and-eat” programs?

All LIHEAP programming, including the “heat-and-eat” programs, have been proposed for elimination in the FY19 budget blueprint by the Trump Administration.

Is NEUAC planning any action events, marches or rallies in Washington, DC?

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.

We are experiencing reduced applications for LIHEAP in our service territory. How do you recommend we message this to congressional offices now that the proposed budget has been released?

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.

Are states having trouble getting down to a 10% carryover level?

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.

How much LIHEAP funding does Michigan receive?

In FY17 Michigan received $159 million that served 441,000 families. Click here to learn more about whom that funding helped.

How many organizations have signed the All Parties Letter to congressional appropriations committees in support of LIHEAP?

As 3/28/18, 1003 organizations have signed the All-Parties letter. View the letter and the organizations that have signed it on NEUAC’s website.

If you have a question that was not included above, please email liheap@thawfund.org and we will do our best to add it to this list.