Markey, McGovern, Welch: Protect LIHEAP from Sequester Cuts

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

Low-Income Families Should Not be Left in the Cold, Say Lawmakers

WASHINGTON (February 20, 2013) – Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today pressed leadership in the House to protect the vital Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from further cuts if the automatic budget cuts in the so-called “sequester” go into effect starting on March 1. If sequestration goes forward, LIHEAP will face an additional $177 million in benefit cuts. That is on top of the $1.6 billion in reductions to the program that have occurred since 2010.

The letter, which was sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the top two leaders of the Appropriations Committee, Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), can be found HERE.

“Less funding, in the face of rising heating oil and natural gas prices, will have a devastating impact on millions of families already suffering through a slow economic recovery,” write the lawmakers. “No one should have to choose between heating and eating this winter. Yet for low-income families, veterans, and seniors who rely upon this program across the country, this choice is too often their harsh reality. We must ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable families continue to receive help.”

Last week, Rep. Markey released a report on the effects of the sequester on Massachusetts, finding that the state’s share of LIHEAP funding would be cut by $6.7 million.

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