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Letter to Honorable Harry Reid, Honorable Mitch McConnell, Honorable John Boehner, Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, along with Representatives Edward Markey, Barney Frank, Richard E. Neal, John Olver, John Tierney, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch, Niki Tsongas, and William Keating, asked that heating assistance funding for families and seniors be maintained in the federal budget.

In a letter to Senate and House Leadership, the Massachusetts delegation voiced their support for funding levels to be maintained for the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the FY2012 budget.

"We all appreciate that difficult decisions have to be made this budget cycle to restore fiscal sanity and begin to tackle the debt," the members wrote. "However, this year Massachusetts, and many other parts of the country, have seen record breaking low temperatures and brutal storm conditions. LIHEAP ensures that families can heat their homes, that senior citizens aren't forced to choose between their next meal and staying warm, and helps those who live in the North East to cope with the winter despite record high home heating oil costs."

The full text of the letter is below:

February 14, 2011

The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader Minority Leader
United States Senate United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker Minority Leader
House of Representatives House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi,

We are writing today in support of the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and to express our hope that level funding can be maintained. The budget proposal submitted by the administration today cuts the program to $2.57 billion which would be devastating for our constituents in Massachusetts. We respectfully request that as you prepare the budget for Fiscal Year 2012 you maintain LIHEAP at its current level of $5.1 billion.

We all appreciate that difficult decisions have to be made this budget cycle to restore fiscal sanity and begin to tackle the debt. However, this year Massachusetts, and many other parts of the country, have seen record breaking low temperatures and brutal storm conditions. LIHEAP ensures that families can heat their homes, that senior citizens aren't forced to choose between their next meal and staying warm, and helps those who live in the North East to cope with the winter despite record high home heating oil costs.

By cutting LIHEAP at this critical time it is estimated that over 3 million American families that qualify for heating assistance would not receive it. As it is LIHEAP is already underfunded. We hear stories every winter from our constituents about the lack of assistance available and the difficulty they have heating their homes.

We understand that increasing the LIHEAP program might not be possible this year because of the budget constraints but cutting the program in half would simply be devastating. We hope to work with you to find a way to keep LIHEAP at level funding and to provide our country's families with the assistance they need.

We again request that you maintain level funding at $5.1 billion for the LIHEAP program and provide vital heating assistance to those in Massachusetts and across the county. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry Scott P. Brown
United States Senator United States Senator

Edward J. Markey Barney Frank
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Richard E. Neal John W. Olver
Member of Congress Member of Congress

John F. Tierney James P. McGovern
Member of Congress Member of Congress


Michael Capuano Stephen F. Lynch
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Niki Tsongas William R. Keating
Member of Congress Member of Congress


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