A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

LIHEAP Appropriations Update

The following is a LIHEAP update from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association

The House voted last night to approve the FY 08 Omnibus spending bill that includes funding for 11 appropriations bills including the Labor, HHS, ED bill. The Senate takes up the measure today. The Senate is expected to add funding for the war in Iraq; if that is agreed to by the Senate and then the House, the Administration has indicated it will sign the bill. This could all be over by Friday!

Senator Sanders has been told by the Senate Leadership that he can introduce his amendment to add $800 million in additional funding (above the level contained in the Omnibus bill). The funds would be split 50-50 between regular program funds and contingency. Co-sponsors of the measure include: Snowe (ME), Collins (ME), Casey (PA), Coleman (MN), Cantwell (WA) and Obama (IL),. Discussions on co-sponsorship are also underway with Senator Dole (NC).

The bill as it now stands maintains the formula grant portion at $1.98 billion, the same level as in FY 2007. It would increase the emergency contingency fund from $181.7 million to $590.3 million.

Note: this is the final amount after applying a 1.747% across-the-board spending cut. The amount in the bill prior to the cut is $2.015 billion for the block grant; contingency funding $596.379 million of which $250 million is not subject to the across the board cut because it is included as part of a separate emergency allocation.

Stay tuned to this dial, further updates will be sent as they become available

House Omnibus Update for WAP

The House passed their version of the Omnibus last evening. The Senate is working on their version today. We will keep you informed as we learn more.

The Omnibus compromise bill provides $227.24 million for Weatherization Assistance at DOE. This final figure is $23 million above the current year funding, which was reduced by DOE using its one-time authority under the 2007 Continuing Resolution. (from $242 in 2006). It is also $85 million more than the President Requested. The Administration is planning to phase out the program.

Report language specifically prevents utilizing the T&TA funds for programs other than the statutory Weatherization program.

The Conference Committee report also includes language designed to prevent the Department from using Weatherization funding for other purposes, as its leadership has proposed in numerous public meetings. It says: The funds provided for federal technical assistance and training are intended to be used exclusively to support the effective delivery of weatherization services as set forth in statute and applicable regulations. Any change in program implementation should be proposed to Congress in the Department’s budget submission and not implemented before Congressional approval is obtained.

The Bill also retains the language allowing states to apply for an early program start in the event they so choose (to help keep funding from running out following the large 2007 cuts, especially to warm climate states.)