Award recognizes Senator’s “many years of leadership, support, and commitment to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program”; President’s budget released today cuts LIHEAP funding

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2014) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) received an award from the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA) recognizing the Senator’s longstanding commitment to protecting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The award was given to Sen. Markey “in appreciation of your many years of leadership, support, and commitment” to the home heating program. The award comes as President Obama released his proposed budget that reduces funding for the LIHEAP program by more than $600 million, to $2.8 billion.

“This winter, families in Massachusetts and other cold weather states have been hit by a perfect storm of bad weather and economic conditions that is pushing them to the brink,” Said Senator Markey. “We cannot keep giving this vital heating assistance program the cold shoulder. I will keep fighting in the Senate to protect LIHEAP, which is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of families in Massachusetts and millions more across the country.”

“As a result of Senator Markey's long term support of LIHEAP we were not only able to fight off funding cuts this year but were able to secure an additional $170 million for the program,” said Mark Wolfe, the Executive Director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association in presenting the award.  “Because of Senator Markey’s leadership, almost seven million poor families across the country have received important help to pay their heating bills this winter.”  

Energy prices have been soaring this winter. In the Northeast, consumers heating with natural gas are spending 12 percent more than last winter. Families using propane are spending nearly 20 percent more. Families using heating oil are now paying nearly $2,200 each winter to heat their homes, up more than $600 dollars from four years ago. 190,000 families in Massachusetts received LIHEAP assistance last year, down five percent from the year before. The recent omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress restored nearly $170 million in funding cuts for LIHEAP.