The lawmakers successfully pushed for additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the continuing resolution that cleared the Senate today
Washington, D.C. – Today, by a vote of 72-25, the Senate passed a short-term government spending bill to fund the federal government through December 16th and provide emergency funding for critical needs—including $1 billion in supplemental appropriations for LIHEAP.
Maine will receive an estimated $8 million in additional LIHEAP funding, a roughly 20 percent increase above the state’s allotment in a typical year. The bill is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives shortly before it is sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), and Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) secured this historic increase in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP, a vital source of financial support for families struggling with high utility bills. LIHEAP helps low-income families meet their home energy needs by providing energy bill assistance.
“In Maine, the average cost of home heating is expected to surge by more than 17 percent compared to last winter, and households will be paying the highest prices in more than a decade to keep their homes warm,” said Senator Collins. “To help alleviate this tremendous hardship, I strongly advocated for this substantial increase for LIHEAP to help compensate for record high fuel prices. These additional funds will help prevent low-income families and seniors from having to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine. Congress should pass and the Administration should distribute this relief expeditiously as the cold winter months approach.”
“With home heating costs still way too high across the country and temperatures dropping, we cannot leave our most vulnerable community members out in the cold,” said Congressman Golden. “This much-needed funding will help to ensure that our seniors, friends and neighbors on fixed incomes, and other Mainers in need have the resources necessary to keep their homes warm in the coming months. I plan to continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House and the Senate to secure additional resources to offer the same security to more Mainers in an end-of-year funding bill.”
“Heating oil and utility costs are going through the roof. One way we can help seniors and families who are struggling to pay these costs is to increase assistance through LIHEAP. I am pleased we were able to convince our colleagues to include an additional $1 billion in emergency funding for LIHEAP in this short-term funding bill,” said Senator Reed. “This funding, combined with regular LIHEAP dollars, will make a huge difference for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors this winter.”
“No family should ever have to choose between heating their home and paying for groceries,” said Congressman Welch. “For Vermonters who are struggling to do both, LIHEAP steps in to fill that need and help families make ends meet. With this injection of new funding, more Vermont families will be able to benefit from this critical program. I look forward to getting this across the finish line this week to bring immediate assistance to Vermonters in need.”
“Families are bearing the brunt of sky-high energy costs and record inflation across the board,” said Congressman Garbarino. “At a time when many are finding it difficult to make ends meet, LIHEAP provides critical relief to help Long Islanders worried about how they will heat their homes this winter. I’m pleased to see this forthcoming supplemental funding increase that will ensure even more families can benefit from this essential program.”
The legislators called for increased LIHEAP funding last month in a letter to appropriators, which is being fulfilled in this short-term funding bill.
Since 1981, LIHEAP has helped working families keep cool in summer and warm in winter, without breaking the bank. The program is particularly important this year as families across the United States face high energy costs and record inflation. New supplemental funding will help more families in New England cope with higher costs, pay their bills, and keep their families safe and healthy.