Bipartisan Group of 75 Members of Congress Urge HHS to Release Home Heating Assistance Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 26, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Representatives Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Peter Welch (D-VT), Lou Barletta (R-PA), James P. McGovern (D-MA) along with 71 other Members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell to urge for the swift release of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding. Releasing the funding will allow families in need to access critical resources to heat their homes during cold winter months.

“More than 120,000 North Carolinians rely on critical home heating assistance to keep warm during the winter,” said Rep. Adams. “This funding is particularly important for many low-income households, children, seniors and veterans who are struggling to pay their bills. With winter fast approaching and temperatures quickly dropping, I urge HHS to release this funding so that our families are not left out in the cold.”

“As another Vermont winter grows near, federal officials should release LIHEAP funding now so that Vermonters who depend on it to stay warm are assured it will be there when they need it,” said Rep. Welch. “In addition, we should redouble our efforts to fully fund this vital safety net program in the federal budget.”

“As the winter months approach us, too many people in my district will have to make the impossible choice between paying for food or keeping warm,” said Rep. Barletta. “That just isn’t acceptable in America. Time is already running short, as the cold weather has already begun in many places, so these funds should be released as soon as possible to protect people among us, particularly seniors and veterans, who depend on it for their very safety.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families, including many seniors who are on a fixed income, rely on LIHEAP funding to help pay for their home heating costs,” said Rep. McGovern. “With these heating costs becoming a larger and larger share of many families’ budgets, this is a critical lifeline that we must protect. Temperatures are already dropping in many parts of the country and after last year’s record-setting winter in Massachusetts, we must do everything we can to prepare for this winter. Our most vulnerable families and seniors need access to LIHEAP funds and we urge you to release them as soon as possible.”

The HHS Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federal program that helps low-income individuals including many seniors, veterans and the disabled pay their energy bills. The program is available during winter and summer months. $3.35 billion in LIHEAP funding was released for fiscal year 2015. LIHEAP provided heating assistance to more than 6.6 million households and cooling assistance to more than 1 million households during fiscal year 2014.

In addition to Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Peter Welch (D-VT), Lou Barletta (R-PA) and James P. McGovern (D-MA), the letter was signed by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT), Glenn Thompson (R-PA) Dan Benishek (R-MI), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Judy Chu (D-CA), John Larson (D-CT), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), William R. Keating (D-MA), John Carney (D-DE), Tim Walz (D-MN), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), André Carson (D-IN), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Sandy Levin (D-MI), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).

Full text of the letter to HHS is attached.

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