Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), dean of the New England Congressional delegation and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today commended the House Appropriations Committee for making available vital Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funding under the FY2013 Continuing Appropriations bill, which continues federal government operations to March 27, 2013. As uncertainty continues for overall FY2013 funding levels for the LIHEAP program, today's announcement means states will have the ability to provide support immediately this winter to those who have the greatest need. In Massachusetts, more than 200,000 families depend on the LIHEAP program to help heat their homes. Nearly 60,000 Massachusetts families rely on LIHEAP to help pay for delivered fuel.
"With above-normal snowfall forecast this coming winter for Massachusetts and New England, and costs for home heating oil expected to remain at high levels across America this winter, this allocation of LIHEAP funding is a prudent step," said Rep. Markey. "This funding will give the state the discretion it needs to begin helping those households who need it most. No household should suffer chills in order to pay their bills this winter, and this LIHEAP funding will help families stay warm and make ends meet during these tough economic times. I will continue to work to ensure that critical LIHEAP funds are released as needed this winter."
Earlier this year, Rep. Markey led a letter from a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to immediately release as much LIHEAP funding as possible under last year's continuing resolution that expired November 18, 2011.