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House Panel Approves $2B for LIHEAP in Fiscal Year 2007

A House Appropriations subcommittee last Wednesday narrowly approved a $142 billion spending bill that would provide slightly more than $2 billion to help needy consumers pay their energy bills in fiscal year 2007.

By 9 to 7, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee authorized spending of $2.111 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in fiscal 2007, which is $329.17 million above the Bush administration's request. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the spending measure on Tuesday (June 13).

The approved funding is far below the level that the American Gas Association requested for LIHEAP. The group, which represents natural gas utilities, last week called on the House subcommittee to recommend full funding of $5.1 billion as authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The Senate has repeatedly supported $5.1 billion in funding for LIHEAP, but the Republican leadership and the White House have blocked it. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to act on LIHEAP in July.

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