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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 27 January 2003



H I G H L I G H T S

 

* Senate Approves LIHEAP Increase

* Senate Supports Dispersal Barrier

* Briefing:  Mid-Atlantic Watersheds

* Letter:  USDA Conservation Spending

 

 

SENATE APPROVES LIHEAP INCREASE

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By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 88 to 4, the Senate approved a Collins-Reed amendment to the Omnibus Appropriation bill that increases funding for the regular Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to $2 billion for fiscal 2003.  Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) are co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition and cosponsors of the amendment.  Other Coalition cosponsors of the amendment were Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), John Kerry (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and Herbert Kohl (D-WI).

 

Responding to the Senate vote, the Bush administration on Friday released $200 million in unspent emergency LIHEAP funds that will help the elderly, disabled, and low-income working families pay their heating bills.  Click here to go to the January 24, 2003, HHS press release listing LIHEAP emergency funding by state.

 

Contact:  Kris Sarri at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606).

 

 

SENATE SUPPORTS DISPERSAL BARRIER

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The Senate also adopted an amendment advanced by the Great Lakes Task Force to provide $500,000 for the continued operation of the electric dispersal barrier in the Chicago Ship & Sanitary Canal. Leaders of the amendment were Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and George Voinovich (R-OH).  This barrier is the last defense against the Asian carp that threaten to invade the Great Lakes.

 

Contact:  Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (224-1211).

 

 

BRIEFING:  MID-ATLANTIC WATERSHEDS

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The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition on Thursday, January 30, will sponsor a breakfast briefing on Mid-Atlantic watersheds. The directors of the interstate river basin commissions for the Delaware, Potomac, and Susquehanna watersheds and EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program will discuss water quality, water supply, and biological resource issues affecting the region.

 

The January 30 briefing will be held from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in 2253 Rayburn House Office Building.

 

Contact:  Dan Wrinn with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (464-4004).

 

 

LETTER:  USDA CONSERVATION SPENDING

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Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), John Dingell (D-MI), and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) are circulating a letter that urges appropriators not to follow the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) recommendation to transform $350 million in mandatory USDA conservation spending into a discretionary account.  The lawmakers argue that such a transfer would damage valuable conservation, rural development, and nutrition programs.

 

The deadline for signing this letter is Monday, January 26, at 5 p.m.  House offices wanting to sign or obtain additional information should contact Olwen Huxley with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (226-9497).