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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 20 February 2006






Weekly Update 20 February 2006




  • LIHEAP – Legislation and Letter
  • Home Energy Assistance Tax Credit – Legislation
  • Manufacturing Extension – Letter
  • Great Lakes Tonnage Tax – Letter
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund – Letter
  • Great Lakes Environmental Summit

LIHEAP – Legislation and Letter


Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Marty Meehan (D-MA), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, are seeking co-sponsors on legislation (H.R. 4793) that would make $1 billion available immediately for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  As the Deficit Reduction Act was written, this money is not available until fiscal 2007.  This funding, which is entirely offset in the budget, will help states provide additional assistance to the nation’s working families at a time when energy prices are soaring.  This bill is a companion to legislation recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).  Contact:  Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202/225-5731).

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, are seeking signatures on a letter asking the president to immediately release the remaining $101.5 million in the LIHEAP contingency/emergency fund.  Deadline to sign onto the letter is Thursday, Feb. 23.  Contact: Ari Strauss with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition at (202/224-0606)



Home Energy Assistance Tax Credit -- Legislation


Reps. LaTourette (R-OH) and Meehan (D-MA) also are seeking co-sponsors of the Home Energy Assistance Tax (HEAT) Credit Act (H.R. 4729).  The bill would provide a one-time refundable tax credit of 25 percent of a family’s home energy costs incurred during the 2005-2006 winter, a heating season that may turn out to be one of the most expensive in U.S. history.


Other co-sponsors include Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Lane Evans (D-IL), Paul Gillmor (R-OH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), James McGovern (D-MA), John McHugh (R-NY), Candice Miller (R-MI), Bob Ney (R-OH), Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Robert Simmons (R-CT), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), and Patrick Tiberi (R-OH).  Contact:  Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202/226-5181).


Manufacturing Extension -- Letter


Leaders of the Manufacturing Task Force – Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Marty Meehan (D-MA), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Michael Doyle (D-PA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and Bart Gordon (D-TN) – are seeking signatures on a letter that asks appropriators to support level funding – $106 million – for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program.  MEP is a nationwide network that makes a comprehensive range of services and assistance available to smaller manufacturers.  Through this support system, MEP helps manufacturers compete globally, support greater supply-chain integration, and obtain access to technology for improved productivity.  Contact:  Lisa Mark with the House Manufacturing Task Force (202/226-5181).


Great Lakes Tonnage Tax -- Letter

The Senate Great Lakes Task Force is circulating a letter to the Finance Committee concerning the tax that U.S.-flag vessels pay on profits earned in foreign trade.  U.S. ships operating in the Great Lakes engage in both domestic and international trade, and a modification to the current tax code would allow them to take advantage of the tonnage tax alternative, increase the competitiveness of the U.S. maritime industry, and help to level the playing field.  The letter’s signature deadline is Feb. 22, 2006.  Contact: Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (202/224-1211).

Land and Water Conservation Fund -- Letter


Reps. James McGovern (D-MA), Peter King (R-NY), and Rush Holt (D-NJ) are seeking signatures on a letter asking appropriators to restore funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) state and local grant program to $100 million for fiscal 2007.  The LWCF state assistance program provides matching federal grants to states and local communities to develop outdoor recreation facilities and resources.  This competitive grant program provides funds to the states that choose local projects based on need and quality of the project.  The letter’s signature deadline is March 1.  Contacts:  Rianna Brown with Rep. McGovern (202/225-6101) or Ryan Travis with Rep. King (202/225-7896).


Great Lakes Environmental Summit


The Northeast-Midwest Institute last week hosted the annual Great Lakes Environmental Summit.  Key regional stakeholders met with congressional committee staff to learn about plans for the 109th Congress, and they discussed cooperative strategies to advance policies that would restore the Great Lakes ecosystem and protect against invasive species.



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