Powering Strong Communities

House Democrats propose $4.5 billion in supplemental LIHEAP funding

An additional $4.5 billion in supplemental funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would be provided as part of the latest $2.2 trillion comprehensive COVID-19 response legislation under a proposal by House Democrats.

Increased funding for LIHEAP funding has been a top priority for the American Public Power Association.

The proposal put forward by House Democrats would exceed the $4.3 billion sought by APPA and the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition. APPA is an ex officio member of the NEUAC board.

LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises and weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs.

The bill is an updated version of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May.

Also of relevance to public power utilities, the proposal would provide $436 billion in direct aid to states and local governments, including a formula designed to ensure that smaller cities and rural communities receive a direct apportionment of relief funding, rather than relying on state governors to provide them with an allocation of funding provided to states.

These new funds and Coronavirus Relief Funds from the CARES Act could be used to replace lost revenues, including lost utility revenues.

The legislation would also allow state and local governments to claim the payroll tax credits intended to offset newly mandated emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave.

The House is expected to pass the bill on a party line vote as early as Oct. 1.

The Senate is not expected to take up the measure.

Meanwhile, talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on COVID-19 response legislation remains largely at a stand still.