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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 24 January 2000

      Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY),
co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, are spearheading
a letter asking the president to release emergency Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.  Rep. Joe Moakley (D-MA) and
the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition are advancing a similar
bipartisan letter on the House side.

      The fiscal year 2000 LIHEAP allocation is just $1.1 billion, an
amount well short of what is needed to meet the needs of all eligible
households in the best of circumstances.  In recent years, the number
of families receiving LIHEAP funds has declined by at least 1.3
million.  Budget cuts have forced states to reduce benefits and
tighten eligibility requirements.  Despite a strong economy, the
arctic air blasting the Northeast/Midwest region and the rise in fuel
prices over last winter have led to an increase in LIHEAP applications
in many states across the region.  The release of LIHEAP emergency
funds is necessary to avoid undue suffering and hardship.

      The fiscal year 2000 appropriations bill makes available a $300-
million contingency allocation to enable the federal government to
respond to exactly this type of emergency.  The Human Services
Reauthorization Act of 1998 defines an "emergency" as:  an increase in
the costs of home energy fuel; an increase in LIHEAP participation; an
increase in unemployment; or the occurrence of a natural disaster,
such as an ice storm or flood.

      CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor with the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (225-5361).

      The Northeast-Midwest Congressional and Senate Coalitions
recently sent letters to the administration requesting adequate
budgetary and staffing resources for the Environmental Protection
Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.  The efforts were led
by Reps. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bob Franks (R-NJ) and Senator Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT).

      The letters argue that for the public to have confidence in the
program's results, it is essential for EPA to properly standardize and
validate its screens and tests.  This request has been endorsed by a
diverse set of stakeholders, including the Chemical Manufacturers
Association and the World Wildlife Fund.

      CONTACTS:  Cameron Taylor with the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606) and Tim Daniels with the Northeast-Midwest
Congressional Coalition (225-5361).

      Dyan McCray has joined the Institute as a staff assistant.  She
has been an office assistant at a local realty company and local
restaurants, and she's been working part-time for several years at the
Institute on temporary assignments.

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