ADMINISTRATION RESPONDS TO COLEMAN REQUEST TO RELEASE MILLIONS IN EMERGENCY HEATING ASSISTANCE FUNDING
Senator Norm Coleman today announced Minnesota will receive $163,982,395 in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding, $19,454,863 of which is emergency contingency funding Coleman pressed the President to release as soon as possible in a letter he sent last week. While contingency funding can be released at the discretion of the Administration, the remainder of the funding, a total of over $144 million, is distributed as part of the regular LIHEAP funding formula. LIHEAP helps over 5.8 million low-income families as well as senior citizens and disabled folks across the country pay for home heating and cooling.
"These tough economic times are taking a serious toll on folks' pocketbooks, and as the frigid winter months near, many Minnesotans worry about how they will pay their heating bills," said Coleman. "This funding is needed more than ever, and I thank the President for listening to my concerns and quickly releasing the additional emergency funds. This funding will make all the difference for Minnesotans who are worried about keeping the heat on as they endure the rough economy and the harsh Midwest winter."
In his letter, Coleman urged the President to release as soon as possible the emergency contingency funding, which was included in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act -- a bill that was signed into law with Coleman's support. This bill provides a total of $5.1 billion for LIHEAP, with $590 million designated for contingency funding.
Previously, Senator Coleman worked with Senator Klobuchar and others to successfully include $2.57 billion for LIHEAP in the fiscal year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, well above the President's proposed level of $1.782 billion. Coleman also joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing the Warm in Winter Cool in Summer Act, to provide an additional $2.5 billion in LIHEAP funding for 2008.