Washington, DC –The American Gas Association (AGA) today commended Chairman Obey and the U.S. House of Representatives for helping low-income Americans get by in a troubled economy by providing the maximum $5.1 billion in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The funds, included within the fiscal year 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, will assist income-eligible families in paying their energy bills.
“We applaud lawmakers for recognizing and responding to the growing need for energy assistance to help vulnerable Americans who have been hit hard by the economy,” said David Parker, AGA president and CEO. “Today’s vote signals that Congress understands the critical role these funds will play in keeping Americans warm this winter.”
Parker said that in light of current economic and job insecurity, it is imperative that LIHEAP continues to receive full funding to provide a measure of security to the millions of Americans who rely on it to manage monthly energy bills.
“When the weather turns cold, families who are already struggling to make ends meet must struggle even harder or risk the ravages of living with little or no heat,” Parker said. “With adequate funding, Congress can ease this situation and ensure these families stay on their feet financially, rather than fall into a dangerous downward spiral along with winter temperatures.”
In addition to Congressional efforts, natural gas utilities play a major role in providing more than $1.7 billion annually in program assistance to needy families. States also supplement LIHEAP with their own fuel assistance programs. But in spite of these efforts, many Americans still face a dire situation when winter heating bills go up.