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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 24 July 1998



Posted on behalf of Glenn Starnes <gstarnes@nemw.org>


SENATE COALITION SPONSORS SUCCESSFUL LIHEAP PRESS EVENT
-------------------------------------------------------
     On Tuesday, July 21, Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Arlen
Specter (R-PA), along with several House members, held a press
conference to release a poll indicating broad public support for the
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and to discuss the
importance of preserving LIHEAP.

     The national poll, commissioned by the Campaign to Keep America
Warm, found that 82 percent of Americans support LIHEAP.  In addition,
68 percent of Americans supported either a modest or substantial
increase in LIHEAP funding.

     Last week, the House Appropriations Committee failed to include
money for energy assistance in the House Labor-HHS Appropriations
bill.  However, Senator Specter, Chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS
Appropriations Subcommittee, stated Tuesday, "I personally am
determined to see that LIHEAP is maintained."  The Senate
Appropriations Committee does not plan to take up the Labor-HHS
Appropriations bill until September 15.

     CONTACT:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).


SENATE APPROPRIATIONS
---------------------
     As of July 24, seven of thirteen Appropriations bills had passed
the Senate.  This week, the Senate passed the Legislative Branch,
Commerce-Justice-State (CJS), and Transportation Appropriations bills. 
Of particular interest to the Northeast-Midwest region, the CJS
Appropriations bill includes $106.8 million for the Manufacturing 
Extension Partnership Program and $10.5 million in Trade Adjustment
Assistance funding for firms.  The Transportation Appropriations bill
includes $200 million for the Northeast Corridor Improvement Program.

     CONTACT:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).


TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS REAUTHORIZATION
----------------------------------------------------
     This week, the Senate Committee on Finance passed the Trade and
Tariff Act of 1998, which includes reauthorization for the Trade
Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Programs.  All three programs expire on
September 30, 1998.  This legislation would reauthorize the programs
through September 30, 2000.

     CONTACT:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).


HOUSE PASSES FOX-SKAGGS ENERGY CONSERVATION AMENDMENT
-----------------------------------------------------
     On Wednesday, July 22, the House passed by voice vote an
amendment to the fiscal 1999 Interior Appropriations bill that would
increase Energy Conservation programs and Fossil programs each by $45
million.  The original amendment from Rep. Jon Fox (R-PA) and Rep.
David Skaggs (D-CO) would have increased Energy Conservation programs
by a total of $40 million, however, was defeated by a vote of 212-213
the previous day.

     After negotiations by Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH) of the
Interior Appropriations subcommittee, Rep. Fox, Rep. Skaggs, and
others, a compromise amendment, offered by Chairman Regula, was
passed.  The $45 million in increases for the Energy Conservation
programs would mean a $9 million increase for the Weatherization
Assistance Program (WAP), a $2 million increase for State Energy
Grants, and a $34 million increase for the remaining Energy
Conservation programs.

     CONTACT:  Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (225-5361).


NORTHEASTERN AND MIDWESTERN REPRESENTATIVES
SUPPORT RELEASE OF EMERGENCY FUNDS
-------------------------------------------
     Over 50 representatives -- including members from the Northeast-
Midwest region -- signed a letter authored by Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX)
to President Clinton urging the release of LIHEAP Emergency Funds to
assist residents of Southern states who have been experiencing
extremely high temperatures and lack of precipitation.  The letter
states, "a total of 79 people have died from heat-related causes ...
the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriation Bill for FY98 makes
available a $300 million contingency allocation to enable the Federal
government to respond to exactly to this type of emergency."

     On Thursday, July 23, the White House announced that $100 million
in emergency LIHEAP funds would be released to 11 Southern states 
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  This has
been the only release of emergency funds in fiscal 1998.

     CONTACT:  Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (225-5361).


REAUTHORIZATION OF LIHEAP DELAYED IN THE HOUSE
----------------------------------------------
     The House Education and Workforce committee is experiencing
delays in the reauthorization of LIHEAP.  Some members argue that the
program is no longer necessary and should not be reauthorized if the
House Labor, HHS Appropriations subcommittee will not fund it in its
fiscal 1999 appropriation bill.  The LIHEAP program is authorized
through fiscal 1999, but because of the nature of the program, is
usually reauthorized the year before its authorization expires.  For
the House Education and Workforce committee to consider LIHEAP
reauthorization, the bill must be bundled with others since the
Commerce committee has primary jurisdiction over the program.  LIHEAP
reauthorization would most likely be added to the Headstart and 
Community Service Block Grants (CSBG).  Both of these other bills have
been surrounded by controversy.

     The Senate Labor and Human Resources committee has already passed
a bill that includes reauthorization for LIHEAP, Headstart and CSBG.

     CONTACT:  Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition (225-5361).


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