WASHINGTON, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today co-signed a letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, requesting that Congress continue funding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011.
“Millions of American households depend on LIHEAP funding, which ensures that they do not have to choose between paying their energy bills or paying for food, medicine and other necessities,” said Dave Parker, president and CEO of AGA. “It is essential that Congress continue to fund LIHEAP at the same level to ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are not left out in the cold this coming winter heating season.”
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education has proposed to continue funding LIHEAP at the $5.1 billion level, while the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved only $3.3 billion in funding. In 2010, the number of households receiving LIHEAP assistance reached record levels, increasing from 7.7 million to 8.8 million. Even with such pressing demand, however, LIHEAP’s funding of $5.1 billion was only enough to assist one in five eligible Americans.
Unless conferees from the House and Senate agree to continue funding LIHEAP at $5.1 billion, states will be compelled to implement painful 35 percent reductions. That could result in 3 million otherwise-eligible low-income households losing access to LIHEAP funding in less than three weeks.
AGA is urging all of its constituents to advocate for a final appropriations bill that includes $5.1 billion for LIHEAP.
To learn more about LIHEAP, please visit, www.aga.org.