Washington, D.C. – December 4, 2007 – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is working to add an additional $1 billion in funds to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families who are struggling with rising energy costs this winter. Sen. Menendez joined Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) in asking the president for an additional $1 billion in funding (Menendez.senate.gov/pdf/120307LIHEAPletter.pdf); he is also a co-sponsor of legislation Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced today – the Keep Americans Warm Act of 2007 would also increase funding to LIHEAP by $1 billion.
“In the richest country on earth, people shouldn’t have to wonder whether they can keep their homes warm through the harsh winter,” said Menendez. “This winter we must ensure that families on the lowest rung of the economic ladder, who aren’t able to keep up with the skyrocketing heating prices, receive the help that they need.”
In the letter to the president, the Senators cite a report from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association that maintains that because of the absence of additional federal and state funding, about 15 percent of households—almost 1 million—currently included under LIHEAP will not qualify for the program this winter. The Keep Americans Warm Act of 2007 would provide an additional $1 billion in emergency funding for the LIHEAP.