Dec 1, 2010: Markey Urges Full Funding for Vital Home Energy Assistance Program

Would Prevent Significant Cuts to Program That Helps More than 200,000 MA Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today led a letter, cosigned by 62 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives, calling for funding the Low-Income Home Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through September 30, 2011 at least at the FY2010 levels of $5.1 billion – the highest funding level in the history of the program. Due to discrepancies between the funding levels set forth by the House and Senate, states are already being forced to reduce LIHEAP benefits. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association projects that funding LIHEAP at levels set forth by the Senate would lead to roughly 2 million households nationwide being denied benefits. In Massachusetts, the lower Senate funding levels could lead to a loss of $75 million in aid to Bay State families.

During these tough economic times, record numbers of American families turn to this program so they don’t have to turn off their thermostats. Cutting funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program this winter would lead to millions of families being turned away and a dramatic reduction in benefits. This holiday season, we can’t let this important program take a funding holiday from helping people to stay warm. I will continue to fight to ensure that Massachusetts families are not left out in the cold this winter as Congress debates funding for home energy assistance later this month.

Nationwide, the Department of Energy (DOE) is projecting average household expenditures on many heating fuels will rise this winter. Average household expenditures on heating oil this winter are expected to rise14.5 percent in the Northeast to more than $2,200, according to DOE. Families using propane are expected to pay nearly $2,700 this winter, an increase of nearly 14 percent.