March 16, 2017
This morning the Trump Administration released its FY 2018 budget outline, also known as the “skinny budget”. Regrettably, the budget proposal calls for significant cuts to several agencies and programs across the federal government that impact low-income Americans.
The budget blueprint calls for $1.7 billion in cuts at the Department of Energy (DOE), eliminating funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). It also calls for $15.1 billion in funding reductions at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eliminating funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). The HHS cuts also zero out the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). You can read the full budget outline here.
Each of these programs is critical to the well-being of millions of low-income families across America. The WAP has served over 7 million low-income households since its inception in 1976. It provides weatherization services through over 700 local organizations across every corner of the country. Elimination of the WAP will severely impact the 20-30 million families eligible for weatherization services each year.
The elimination of CSBG funding would devastate the over 15 million people each year who receive a wide range of services ranging from job training, to education, to housing. CSBG is a flexible program administered by over 1,000 local agencies that tailor services and programs to the unique needs of nearly every community in our nation.
Each year 35 million households are eligible for the lifesaving benefits provided by LIHEAP- yet only 6 million households receive assistance. At least 70% of households helped by LIHEAP are home to either a child under age 5, someone with a disability, or an elderly resident. The elimination of LIHEAP funding would strike at the most vulnerable residents of our communities.
Finally, we would like to emphasize that the President’s budget proposal is just the first step in a lengthy and elaborate budget process. The budget is a non-binding blueprint in which the Administration sets out its funding priorities, while Congress ultimately makes all of the final funding decisions in annual appropriations bills. Congress has no obligation to follow the President’s budget; and WAP, CSBG, and LIHEAP all have strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
NASCSP is committed to working with our national partners to defend funding for WAP, CSBG, and other low-income programs. This is just the beginning of a long road ahead protecting our programs and the low-income citizens they serve.
For more information on the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), contact Eric Behna, Program & Policy Analyst at NASCSP (firstname.lastname@example.org).