U.S. Representative Tom Allen, a senior member of the House Budget Committee, issued the statement below today on House appropriation of $5.1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP ). The funding is contained in the continuing resolution, passed today in the House, to fund all federal government programs through March 2009.
"This dramatic funding increase is the direct result of the bipartisan effort I helped to lead in the House that galvanized support from members not just in the Northeast and Midwest but nationwide. As a result, we will have $2.5 billion more this winter than was available last winter, more households will be eligible and the average recipient will receive $550, $195 more than last year. Constituents tell me that they expect this year to pay double what they paid to heat their home last year. This additional assistance will mean that thousands of Maine families and seniors will not have to choose between keeping their homes warm and paying their food and medical bills. This is an important step to provide relief, but we need to do more. I will continue to fight for my legislation to create a $2,000 refundable tax credit for the hundreds of thousands of Mainers who are not eligible for LIHEAP but who face staggering fuel bills in the winter ahead."