November 04, 2013

Kaine Calls On HHS To Release Winter Heat Aid That Would Help Approximately 147,000 Virginia Households

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined a bipartisan group of 40 U.S. Senators to call on the Obama Administration to release federal heating aid funds that would help millions of Americans who are struggling with their energy bills as winter approaches. The Senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to release Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds as quickly and at as high a level as possible.  In 2012, 147,155 Virginia households received heating aid through LIHEAP, and 653,000 additional households were eligible but did not receive funding. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has projected that household expenditures for heating will rise this year, leaving even more families in need.  

The Senators wrote, "LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing critical assistance during the cold winter and hot summer months. This funding has been an indispensable lifeline during challenging economic times, helping to ensure that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for other necessities like food or medicine…we request that you quickly release LIHEAP funds and at as high of a level as possible in order to allow states and low-income households to prepare for the upcoming season."    

Full text of the Senators’ letter is below: 

Dear Secretary Sebelius: 

As state agencies prepare their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) programs for the winter, we respectfully request that the Department of Health and Human Services release LIHEAP funds as quickly and at as high of a level as possible under the current continuing resolution.

LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing critical assistance during the cold winter and hot summer months. This funding has been an indispensable lifeline during challenging economic times, helping to ensure that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for other necessities like food or medicine. On average low-income families and seniors spend a higher proportion of their income on energy, and for many states, October marks the start of the heating season, creating an additional constraint on these household budgets.

As the relevant state agencies begin to provide assistance for this winter, it is critical that they have the resources to assist low-income households and seniors as soon as possible. Therefore, we request that you quickly release LIHEAP funds and at as high of a level as possible in order to allow states and low-income households to prepare for the upcoming season.   

We look forward to continuing to work with you on this critical program, and thank you for your attention to our concerns and those of our constituents. 

Sincerely,

Reed
Collins
Ayotte
Baldwin
Begich
Blumenthal
Brown
Cardin
Casey
Coons
Durbin
Franken
Gillibrand
Hirono
Tim Johnson
Heitkamp
Kaine
King
Klobuchar
Landrieu
Leahy
Levin
Manchin
Markey
Menendez
Merkley
Murkowski
Murphy
Murray
Pryor
Rockefeller
Sanders
Schatz
Schumer
Shaheen
Stabenow
Tester
Warren
Whitehouse
Wyden 

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