The Trump Administration clearly has it in for poor people. New work requirements in food stamps and Medicaid. A HUD secretary more interested in decorating his office than housing families in need. And now the new budget.
Before going into detail, let’s be clear that this budget, like the last two Trump budgets (and most of the Bush and Obama budgets), is nothing more than a speed bump on Pennsylvania Avenue. There’s no reason to deliver it to the Hill because it will be dumped in recycling. I think the only people that read the Trump Administration budgets are the folks from the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, because they wrote most of it 20+ years ago. It is no more relevant today than it was then.
So let’s tick down our program list and see what was proposed:
Weatherization Assistance Program
The Trump Administration has once again proposed no funding for WAP, as it has in all the prior budgets it has submitted to Congress. Fortunately, the Hill supports our program, another reason to love the swamp. Keep in mind, WAP got a 20% increase to $308.5 in FY 2020. There is no reason to expect less in 2021.
Ohio’s allocation will grow from $15.7 million to $17.9 million. Time to raise wages and hire people; we have more people to serve!
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Guess what? LIHEAP is zeroed out again in the President’s budget. The text points to a 10-year-old GAO report that showed some fraud and abuse as the reason for cutting the program, but a sentence later acknowledges that those problems have been solved. What? It looks like they just added a sentence to last year’s version. Again, LIHEAP got a $50 million increase in FY 2020 past year bringing the program to $3.74 billion, the largest it’s been since ARRA. Count on funding in FY 2021, though we’ll need to work for it. You can start by signing the LIHEAP All Parties letter if you haven’t already. Ohio has 46 nonprofits on it the letter, almost all of them OPAE members. We’re third nationally in the number of signatures. Way to go gang!
The energy programs shouldn’t feel alone. Energy efficiency R&D is down 80% in the President’s Request. CSBG is zeroed out. We’re in good company!