09.07.17

Leahy Leads Appropriations Committee In Rejecting Trump Administration’s Elimination Of Home-Heating Assistance Program

…Trump Targeted the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program – LIHEAP – As One of Many Programs to Eliminate

Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday led the funding panel in rejecting President Trump’s proposal to completely eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which would have left tens of thousands of Vermont across all 14 counties of the Green Mountain State vulnerable to high heating costs this winter.

Leahy said:  “By eliminating LIHEAP, the President would have left thousands of Vermonters out in the cold.  The government should not be in the business of forcing families to make the difficult choice between staying warm and having food on the table.  The President’s proposal to kill LIHEAP funding is misinformed, it is hurtful, and it is wrong.  The President’s unbalanced priorities are not Vermont’s priorities, and they are not America’s real priorities.  For now we have turned back this cruel and shortsighted proposal.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the proposal to eliminate the program during the Committee’s consideration of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill – the annual budget bill that funds several government departments, agencies and programs, including LIHEAP.  As Vice Chairman, and for several decades, Leahy has consistently led in fighting for the resources Vermonters need for the home heating assistance program.  

The bill approved by the Committee includes $3.39 billion for LIHEAP, which provides crucial assistance to families struggling with the costs of their energy bills and weatherizing their homes.  Last year, Vermont received nearly $19 million to help more than 21,000 households in all 14 counties of the state, preventing thousands of families from having to make the difficult choice between food or warmth.  Across the country, LIHEAP provided critical heating and cooling assistance to over 6 million households at the same level of funding in fiscal year 2017. 

The bill will now move to full consideration by the Senate. 

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