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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 31 July 1998

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

     The Senate passed the Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998
(S. 2206) by unanimous consent on July 27.  The legislation,
introduced by Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT), reauthorizes the Low Income
Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for five years -- fiscal 1999
through fiscal 2004 -- at $2 billion annually.  The legislation
includes language that clarifies when emergency LIHEAP funding would
be released, including times of economic downturn, natural disasters,
and rising oil prices.

     Meanwhile, on July 29, the House Education and the Workforce
Committee passed a two year reauthorization for LIHEAP (H.R. 4271). 
The reauthorization is actually a title within H.R. 4271 that
reauthorizes the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.  There
are several important differences between the House and Senate
versions of LIHEAP reauthorization.  The House version reauthorizes
the program for only two years, whereas the Senate version extends it
for five years.  An amendment offered in the House Full Committee
markup by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) that would have increased the
reauthorization to five years was defeated along party lines, 17-22. 
Finally, the Senate bill  reauthorizes LIHEAP at $2 billion annually,
whereas the House bill reauthorizes it at "$1.1 billion for fiscal
2000, and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2001."

     CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (225-5361).

     On July 30, the Senate unanimously passed the conference report
to the "Workforce Investment Act of 1998." The legislation, introduced
by Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT), has as a key component the Northeast-
Midwest initiative creating a new governance process for the system of
labor market information (LMI).

     The process will engage state LMI directors with the Bureau of
Labor Statistics to jointly plan the content of statistical programs
and pave the way to better state and local information relevant to the
needs of employers and workers.  In establishing this federal-state
partnership of LMI peers, the legislation creates a unique model for a
new, more state-oriented brand of federalism.

     The legislation will be considered by the House of
Representatives as early as next week and will then go to President
Clinton, who has indicated he will sign it into law.

     CONTACT:  Paula Duggan at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-

     The Senate began its August recess today and will return August
31.  The Senate finished eight Appropriations bills, with District of
Columbia, Foreign Operations, Interior, Labor-Health and Human
Services, and Treasury-Postal left for consideration in September.

     The House will begin its August recess next Friday (August 7) and
is due to reconvene on September 8.  The House has completed nine
Appropriations bills and hopes to conclude Commerce, Justice, State in
the remaining week.  Appropriations bills for Labor, Health and Human
Services, District of Columbia, and Foreign Operations will be left
for consideration in September.

     CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels at the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (225-5361).