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S. 1761 (rfh) To direct the Secretary of the Interior, through the Bureau of Reclamation, to conserve and enhance the water supplies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. [Referred in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1761

    To provide guidelines for the release of Low-Income Home Energy 
                 Assistance Program contingency funds.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            October 20, 2003

Ms. Cantwell (for herself, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Feinstein, and 
  Mr. Wyden) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
  referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To provide guidelines for the release of Low-Income Home Energy 
                 Assistance Program contingency funds.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``LIHEAP Emergency Reform Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 
        provides vital assistance to the millions of Americans 
        struggling to pay their energy bills.
            (2) The LIHEAP contingency fund was created ``to meet the 
        additional home energy assistance needs of one or more States 
        arising from a natural disaster or other emergency''.
            (3) While a total of approximately $2,670,000,000 in LIHEAP 
        contingency funds have been distributed since 1990--in all 
        cases, to help meet the needs of low-income families across the 
        United States--widely varying eligibility rules have led to 
        instances in which very real energy emergencies have been 
        overlooked.
            (4) The millions of Americans served by the Low-Income Home 
        Energy Assistance Program, and States struggling to meet demand 
        for the assistance this Program provides, would greatly benefit 
        from the addition of transparency to the process by which 
        LIHEAP contingency funds are distributed.

SEC. 3. LIHEAP CONTINGENCY FUND REFORM.

    Section 2604(e) of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 
1981 (42 U.S.C. 8623(e)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``(e) Notwithstanding'' and inserting 
        ``(e)(1) Notwithstanding'';
            (2) in the second sentence, by striking ``or any other 
        program''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, the 
Governor of a State may apply to the Secretary for certification of an 
emergency in that State and an allotment of amounts appropriated 
pursuant to section 2602(e).
    ``(3) The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy 
and with the appropriate State officials, shall by rule adopt 
procedures for the equitable consideration of applications under 
paragraph (2). Such procedures shall require--
            ``(A) the consideration of each of the elements of the 
        definition of `emergency' in section 2603;
            ``(B) the consideration of the differences between 
        geographic regions including sources of energy supply for low-
        income households, relative price trends for sources of home 
        energy supply, and relevant weather-related factors including 
        drought; and
            ``(C) the Secretary to grant such applications within 30 
        days after submission unless the Secretary certifies in writing 
        that none of the emergency conditions defined in section 2603 
        have been demonstrated.''.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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