MAKING AVAILABLE FUNDS FOR THE LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2006)
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Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I would like to thank you for your leadership in bringing this bill from Senator Snowe to the floor. I thank Mr. Green for his bipartisan support, and I thank the leadership of the House for allowing this vote.
I am from New Hampshire, one of the cold weather States, and even though the weather has been somewhat warmer than might be expected in most winters, we have seen at times a spike in the price of home heating oil by nearly 65 percent in some instances. It has abated somewhat, but nevertheless prices of home heating oil this winter are significantly higher.
We all know how successful the LIHEAP, the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, has been. It is effectively monitored by State and local interests, but it is funded at the Federal level. My State has seen about a 12 percent increase in applications this winter because of that spike in prices. My State has allocated all of the dollars it has received so far to trying to process the applications that it has and it is committed; and without this funding, the State of New Hampshire and other cold weather States are going to have to dip into their own State funds to help fund a Federal program in 2006.
My State, before the emergency funding was released by the President, was nearly $3 million short, that is about 15 percent under last year and at a time when there is record demand and record high prices. That is why this bill is so important, Madam Speaker, why we need to bring it up, have this vote tonight, get it to the President's desk. This bill is balanced well because the interests of warm weather States and cold weather States because of the 50-50 split and because of the emergency funding and the formula funding.
So I am hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will see fit to move forward with this. This bill is fully offset by the Budget Deficit Reconciliation Act, which is important for our Nation's budget deficit, obviously, but it is also important for States, both in the southern part of the country and the northern part of the country, to pass this bill tonight and to make sure it gets to the President's desk as soon as possible so States like mine can get more money into the pipeline while it is still important.
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