Dec 22, 2010: MARKEY HELPS SECURE HOME HEATING PROGRAM FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS
Vote to fully fund LIHEAP prevents loss of benefits for more than 200,000 MA families
WASHINGTON, DC – –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a longtime champion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), voted late last night in favor of extending funding for the critical home-heating program at the Fiscal Year 2010 level of $5.1 billion through March 4, 2011. The LIHEAP extension was passed as part of the temporary spending bill called a Continuing Resolution that will keep the federal government funded for the next ten weeks. The short-term Continuing Resolution was necessary to keep the federal government operating until funding is signed into law that will cover government functions throughout the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2011.
Rep. Markey had led the fight in the House to fully fund LIHEAP this winter, organizing two letters with his House colleagues over the last two months calling for the program to be fully funded in any continuing resolution. The letters are attached here.
Due to discrepancies between the funding levels set forth by the House and Senate, states were already being forced to reduce LIHEAP benefits. Massachusetts was facing a $75 million loss in aid to families this winter. With this vote in favor of the continuing resolution, LIHEAP will be fully funded though March 4 and states can begin to once again provide the same level of aid as last year.
“With the vote to fully fund LIHEAP, we ensure that Massachusetts families will not be left out in the cold as temperatures plunge during the frigid winter months,” Rep Markey said. “During these difficult economic times, no family should be forced to make a choice between food for their family and fuel for their heater. I am pleased that Congress has taken the critical step toward providing the home energy assistance that thousands of Massachusetts families will depend on to get through the winter.”
In Massachusetts, more than 200,000 families depend on the program to help heat their homes.
For more information on LIHEAP and where to apply, please visit the following website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.pdf
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