The Obama administration’s budget provides $3.2 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income families with their home heating and cooling expenses. That is the highest level of LIHEAP funding for any year except for the most recent, when the nation was threatened with an unprecedented increase in energy costs. In addition, the administration proposes creating a new trigger mechanism to provide automatic increases in energy assistance whenever there is a spike in energy costs. The normal appropriations process cannot always respond to the volatile energy market on a timely basis; the trigger will ensure a prompt and potentially significant increase in funds in response to a rapid future rise in costs.

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