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institution even though that person, or his or her parents, have paid taxes that contribute to HEAL guarantees. There is no good rationale for this discriminatory practice. At St. George's the default rate on Guaranteed Student Loans is about 11 far less
than most American schools.
There are $375 million in loan guarantees per year that are not fully used by students attending U.S. schools. The loan is made to the student
so does the geographic location of the school really make a great deal of difference?
not the school
Mr. Chairman, HEAL loans should be available to U.S. tax paying citizens receiving their medical education at St. George's. The HEAL program should take the lead from the GSL program, the Council on Graduate Medical Education, and the National Board of Medical Examiners, and end its discriminatory practice of denying eligibility to students who attend foreign medical schools.
The National Health Service Corps is another example. though the National Health Service Corps is decades old, there are still many designated medically underserved areas in the U.S. There does not appear to be any sound rationale for denying National Health Service Corps scholarships to medical graduates, especially when they are eager to serve in these underserved areas. I would be willing to wager that if the National Health Service Corps Scholarship program was available to graduates of foreign medical schools as is the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program, the number of inner city and rural underserved areas would decline dramatically.
That concludes my remarks Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the opportunity to present my views. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) appreciates this opportunity to submit this statement for the hearing record on the fiscal year 1992 appropriations for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The NARUC is a quasi-governmental, nonprofit organization founded in 1889. Within our membership are the governmental agencies of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers.
As the representative of those State regulatory agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring that reasonable and just rates are charged for electric and gas services, the NARUC has a compelling reason to be concerned that the low-income population continue to receive these life-sustaining services. The NARUC's commitment to this program was reaffirmed in February when the Association's Executive Committee adopted a resolution calling for Congress to appropriate at least $1.7 billion for LIHEAP in FY 1992. (See the attached resolution.)
In this resolution, the NARUC noted that LIHEAP funds last year helped to provide heating assistance and cooling assistance to approximately 5.9 million households. The sad fact is that this number is down from the 7.1 million that received LIHEAP assistance in 1987, and it is a far cry from the 24 million households in this country that need some help in paying their energy bills.
The Administration's budget request for FY 1992 calls for a $685 million cut in funding for LIHEAP, which represents a 43 percent reduction below the current funding level of $1.61 billion. In our view, this cut is not justified. At a time when more people are being forced out of work due to the economic recession and when energy prices are subject to sharp increases depending on events in the Middle East, the need to help low-income people meet their energy expenses has never been greater.
DEVASTATING EFFECTS FROM BUDGET CUT
If agreed to by the Congress, the Administration's budget proposal for LIHEAP funding would have a devastating impact on the low-income population. Many of these households devote as much as 14 percent of their income to paying their energy bills, which is four times as much as all other households. Moreover, the average LIHEAP benefit is about $194 a year, versus about $900 in annual energy costs.
LIHEAP is a needs-based income supplement program serving only very needy households, of which nearly 60% have annual incomes of less the $6,000. More than half of the recipient households are working poor or elderly, and most do not receive any other type of public assistance.
As State utility regulators, we continually face situations throughout the country where consumers unable to pay their bills are shut off despite the existence of LIHEAP, private fuel funds, State programs, weatherization programs, various payment plans and customer assistance programs offered by utility companies. Protections against shutoffs offer only a temporary solution and do not get to the root of the problem, which is providing the means for low-income households to pay their utility bills. Many warm weather shutoffs stem from unpaid bills from the prior heating season; yet when they occur, the local LIHEAP program is closed down for lack of funds, leaving only private fuel funds to attempt to respond to these needs.
Charitable contributions are too small to fill the growing gap left by shrinking Federal LIHEAP assistance. A recent study by the National Fuel Funds Network, the American Gas Association and Edison Electric Institute reported that utility fuel fund programs have distributed approximately $131.42 million to approximately 857,500 households. Although important, these contributions can not make up for the huge cut being proposed for LIHEAP in the Administration's budget.
The NARUC strongly supports the LIHEAP as a National program that has as its primary target all those who are financially unable to pay their energy utility bills no matter where they live.
We would urge this Subcommittee to renew its commitment to the LIHEAP program and appropriate at minimum the $1.7 billion that we have requested for FY 1992.
Thank you for allowing us to present Our views on this important subject.
Resolution Regarding FY 1992 Appropriations
for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program,
WHEREAS, The National Association of Regulation Utility Commissioners (NARUC) recognizes the critical roles that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program play in providing crucial assistance to millions of households in meeting their energy needs; and
WHEREAS, The Executive Committee of the NARUC adopted a resolution urging Congress and the President to increase funding for LIHEAP and the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program at its 1990 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.; and
WHEREAS, The LIHEAP is a needs-based income supplement program serving only very needy households, of which nearly 60 percent have annual incomes of $6,000 or less; and
WHEREAS, More than one-half of the households that receive LIHEAP are the working poor or elderly, and most LIHEAP households do not receive any other type of public assistance; and
WHEREAS, Many thousands more families will fall into poverty this year as the National recession widens, causing higher unemployment for the working poor and other wage earners as well; and
WHEREAS, LIHEAP funds last year helped to provide heating assistance, emerger.cy energy assistance to those in urgent life-threatening situations, and cooling assistance to approximately 5.9 million households (down from 7.1 million as recently as 1987), and were also used to provide weatherization for low-income households; and
WHEREAS, The trend of residential prices for primary heating fuels has continued to climb, and that the U.S. Department of Energy projects further increases, and that LIHEAP-recipient households spend about 13.7 percent of their incomes on home energy costs, which is FOUR times that paid by all households; and
WHEREAS, Prior to the recent modest increase in funding for LIHEAP this fiscal ear, the program had been cut by one-third (from $2.1 billion in FY 1985 to $1.443 billion ■FY 1990) despite the obvious need to increase energy payment assistance, and the eep cuts eliminated a million poor households from the program while LIHEAP benefits -ere also substantially reduced; and
WHEREAS, The cumulative total reduction of LIHEAP funding amounts to pproximately $2.8 billion since FY 1985; and
WHEREAS, Utility commissions find that inadequate funding has contributed to reat hardships for elderly and other low-income households, resulting in thousands of milies having to double up and triple up in crowded homes and apartments, thus, ontributing to another aspect of the homeless problem; and
WHEREAS, The FY 1992 Budget request for LIHEAP would cut its funding from the ombined total of $1.61 billion for FY 1991 to $925 million with a $100 million contingency ind based on a trigger of fuel prices, and that said cut would be a 43% reduction, liminating millions of poor families from the program; and
WHEREAS, The FY 1992 Budget request apparently envisions a gradual phase out the LIHEAP; and
WHEREAS, The FY 1992 Budget request would also drastically cut approximately 7% percent of the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program funds, which received $195 million in FY 1991; and
WHEREAS, The LIHEAP continues to be a Nationally needed program; and
WHEREAS, Final state decisions have been made regarding most of the oilvercharge funds that the states have received and the amounts committed to LIHEAP are oo small to make up for the past LIHEAP reductions, and much less additional eductions, even if the oil-overcharge funds could be legally used to supplant federal and tate resources; now, therefore, be it'
RESOLVED, That the Executive Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), convened at its Winter Meeting in Washington, 0.C., reaffirms its support for LIHEAP as a critically-needed, long-term Federal program nd urges all commissions to actively support LIHEAP funding of at least $1.7 billion in Y 1992, and that the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program be funded at no less than -200 million in FY 1992.
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION AND THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL COLLEGES
The American Veterinary Medical Association represents the nation's $3,000 veterinarians and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges represents the veterinary teaching and research components of the nation's university system. We are especially concerned with funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) extramural research programs, nine programs in the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and support of health professions' education through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
National Institutes of Health
Biomedical research now accounts for less than two percent of the dollars spent on health care in the United States. This is inadequate and is leading to decreased cost-effectiveness in the delivery system.
For FY'92 we join with the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding and others in recommending an 18 percent increase or total of $9.770 billion. This would fund approximately one-third of reviewed research proposals and support the nine NCRR programs at the levels proposed in the next section of this testimony.
NIH National Center for Research Resources
Biomedical Research Support Grant (BRSG). We recommend in the strongest possible way that the BRSG funding for FY '92 be restored to the FY'90 level of $44.2 million. Shared Instrument Grant (SIG) program. We recommend that this program be funded in FY'92 at the level of $32.756 million.
Laboratory animal science training. The Administration's FY'92 recommendation of $2.7 million to fund 81 trainee positions should be increased to a total of $4.0 million to support 105 trainees.
We strongly support the Administration's
Animal Facility Improvement Awards.
Research Project Grants and Resource Related Projects. We believe that the importance of the program clearly justifies an appropriation of $6.3 million rather than the $4.8 million recommended by the Administration.
Special Emphasis Career Development Awards (SERCA). Rather than the small increase proposed in the Administration's budget we recommend that a total of $1.103 million be appropriated for the SERCA program in FY'92.
Small Grants Program_in_Laboratory Animal Medicine. Given the potential of these grants for improving the research animal environment, we recommend a FY'92 appropriation of $1.543 million.
Biological Models and Materials Research Program. We would strongly recommend that this program be funded at a FY'92 level of $26.497 million.