RELEASE: Trump’s Elimination of Low Income Energy Assistance Will Cause Direct Harm to Already Vulnerable Americans

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration has been openly hostile to climate science and policies aimed at mitigating the worst effects of climate change. They have proposed gutting the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA attempted to undo the Clean Power Plan and are considering pulling the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump will release a more detailed budget proposal next week, and as he did in his “skinny budget” released in March, he may again call for eliminating the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, which helps seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children afford their utility bills.

The Center for American Progress has released a column looking at how Trump’s elimination of LIHEAP would be a huge hit to the budgets of low-income Americans who will now have to choose between heating or cooling their homes or forgoing other basic necessities.

“President Trump campaigned on promises to fight for the forgotten man and woman, but his proposal to eliminate LIHEAP will literally leave millions of struggling Americans out in the cold,” said Eliza Schultz, an author of the column. “As each year brings more and more record breaking temperatures, cutting funding that makes it possible for families to cool and heat their homes will not only set millions of struggling Americans back economically but could even be a death sentence, particularly for households with vulnerable children and seniors.”

Since 1981, LIHEAP has helped low-income, elderly and disabled Americans afford their heating and cooling costs. It costs the country $3.37 billion per year—far less than the subsidies to fossil fuel companies—and helps people who are vulnerable to the extreme temperatures currently being felt over the last few years. Without this assistance, more Americans will have to choose between their utility bills and other necessities and will have negative health outcomes as a result of extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.