Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, and Angus King today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing an additional $3,681,581 in funding for Maine through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which includes $134,848 specifically for tribes and tribal organizations. In November, Senators Collins and King announced more than $36 million for Maine under the first round of funding for LIHEAP.
“It is vital that we ensure low-income families and seniors in Maine have access to affordable home energy to protect their health and safety. This funding is welcome news as these programs remain important lifelines that help prevent vulnerable individuals from having to choose between heating their home, paying their bills, or going without food or medicine,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “At the same time, we continue to strongly oppose the Administration’s decision to divert money from the LIHEAP program to fight the coronavirus. We are working with our colleagues to quickly pass a supplemental funding bill that will strengthen the government’s response to this public health threat without reallocating funding from key programs like LIHEAP.”
Senators Collins and King strongly oppose a transfer of LIHEAP funding to combat the coronavirus and wrote a letter to the Appropriations Committee opposing any shifts that would take funding away from LIHEAP. Instead, Senators Collins and King have advocated for an emergency appropriation to address the public health threat posed by the coronavirus.
Senator Collins secured $3.74 billion for the LIHEAP program—a $50 million increase—in the FY2020 appropriations package. In October, Senator Collins wrote a letter with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) that was cosigned by 33 of their colleagues, including Senator King, urging HHS to release LIHEAP funds without delay and at as high a level as possible under the continuing resolution.