House Sends Cutler’s LIHEAP Reform Measure to Senate

HARRISBURG – The House today unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) that would reform Pennsylvania’s fraud-ridden Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and its Weatherization Assistance Program so taxpayer dollars only go to help the truly needy.


“I have been very passionate about reforming these programs since Auditor General Jack Wagner released a scathing audit of them when I first came to office in 2007,” said Cutler.  “Today is a victory for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers, who deserve to know the money they send to Harrisburg is used only for its intended purpose.  Programs to help the Commonwealth’s needy must be safeguarded from fraud and abuse, and this legislation will go a long way to making this principle a reality.”


House Bill 1991 would require the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and the Department of Community and Economic Development to verify the income eligibility of recipients of LIHEAP and weatherization funds, respectively.  This will ensure that only those individuals for whom the programs are intended receive public assistance.


The legislation contains whistleblower protections for anyone who reports suspected fraud within the programs.  Taking anti-fraud measures a step further, House Bill 1991 requires employees, contractors and recipients of the programs to reports suspected misconduct to the Office of Inspector General.


Had this provision been in effect in the past, it might have prevented the ring of Philadelphia public employees caught stealing $500,000 from LIHEAP, as identified in the auditor general’s 2007 report. 

Because the auditor general’s office has been instrumental in identifying fraud, waste, and abuse, the legislation requires it to conduct periodic performance reviews of the programs.  Along with it’s uncovering of the Philadelphia racket, the office’s audits also exposed nearly 550 recipients using the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals to obtain benefits.


The legislation also establishes a conflict of interest policy for the weatherization assistance program to avoid nepotism, favoritism and improper conduct.


Cutler noted he collaborated with Rep. Ron Waters (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) in drafting the bi-partisan proposal.


“This is a commonsense effort that members of all parties can agree upon, because we all believe public taxpayer dollars for poverty-stricken Pennsylvanians should only serve those people who are truly needy,” said Cutler.  “I thank Representative Waters for his contribution to this cause.  Public programs should not be the personal reserve funds for corrupt employees or dishonest citizens.  These programs were meant to serve the underprivileged during times of hardship.”


Cutler’s legislation will now go before the Senate.  It will be his sixth bill awaiting consideration in that chamber for the 2011-12 session.


More information about Cutler and his legislative priorities is available at or


State Representative Bryan Cutler

100th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Nicole Wamsley


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