This week, a group of bipartisan Members came together to urge Health and Human Services Secretary Thomas Price to release the highest amount of FY2018 funds available for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Leading the request letter to Secretary Price were Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Bill Keating (MA-09), Peter T. King (NY-02), Lou Barletta (PA-11), and Peter Welch (VT-AL). They were joined on their letter by ninety other Members from both sides of the aisle.
Last year, LIHEAP funds were used to restore power or prevent disconnection in over one million households across the country. According to Members' letter, a copy of which is attached to this release: "LIHEAP is a critical safety net for low-income families, our elderly, our veterans, and those living with disabilities. Throughout the country, people rely on LIHEAP assistance to help them pay their utility bills through hot summers and cold winters, especially when faced with financial difficulties."
"Winter is on its way, and thousands of New Hampshire families depend on LIHEAP funding to stay warm," said Rep. Shea-Porter. "The Trump administration needs to make an ironclad commitment to funding this critical program that keeps Granite Staters safe from the cold."
"LIHEAP can mean the difference between life and death for many people across the country, especially households with seniors or children," said Rep. Keating. "As we quickly approach the colder weather months, it is imperative that we release the maximum amount of funds available for this program so we not only alleviate some of the burden of high energy costs for our families, but also provide critical assistance to countless Americans suffering from the effects of the recent hurricanes."
"With winter approaching, LIHEAP truly provides an essential resource. It is imperative that this program receive the funding it needs to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our at risk citizens," said Rep. King.
"As the winter months approach us, too many people in my district will have to make the impossible choice between paying for food or keeping warm," said Rep. Barletta. "LIHEAP is critical for so many in our communities, especially seniors and veterans, who depend on it for their safety and wellbeing. These funds should be released as soon as possible to protect those who are most vulnerable."
"As another Vermont winter grows near, the Administration should release LIHEAP funding to the states now so that Vermonters in need stay warm and do not run out of fuel," said Rep. Welch. "In addition, we should redouble our efforts to fully fund this vital safety net program."
"We applaud the work of Reps. Keating, Welch, King, Barletta, and Shea-Porter in leading the House effort to call upon Sec. Price to quickly release LIHEAP funds to help some of the nation's poorest families during the upcoming winter heating season as well as families in Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands pay for needed repairs to their home energy systems as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma," said Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA).
"As the winter fast approaches in the northeast and disaster efforts in the south continue unabated, the immediate release of this year's funding for energy assistance remains critical to the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. Our Massachusetts Energy Network continues to enjoy the unwavering support of our federal delegation and I'd like to thank Congressman William Keating and the other authors of this letter and the many Members who signed on for supporting these efforts," said Garth Patterson, Fuel Director for Citizens for Citizens, Inc.