Senate Democrats Urge President Bush To Back Supplemental Funding for LIHEAP

May 25, 2001
12:00 AM
Immediate Action Would Help Families Hit Hardest By Rapidly Rising Home Energy Costs The Bush/Cheney Administration says that the federal government can’t do anything in the short-term to help Americans who are struggling with high energy bills. Democrats disagree. In a letter sent today to President Bush, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM) and 37 other Democratic Senators pointed to one major action that the Administration can take in the near-term to ease the impact that high energy prices are having on the lives of many Americans. “To help consumers across the country pay their utility bills, the President should act right away to provide emergency supplemental funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. “There has never been a year like this year,” Sen. Bingaman said. “Home electricity and gas bills are higher for Americans than they’ve ever been. The President should act now to get help to our citizens.” Last year millions of American families relied on LIHEAP to help pay their heating and cooling costs. More than a million more applicants have filed for assistance this year than last year due to the unprecedented cost of home energy. Unfortunately, funding for the program has run dry, and many families already are starting to feel the pinch from rapidly rising utility bills. And what is likely to be a long and expensive cooling season is only starting. During his campaign, President Bush voiced support for this program. Now is the time for him to match his words with action and help working families pay their energy bills. Democrats in Congress urge President Bush to respond to the needs of the Nation by supporting a $2 billion supplemental appropriation for base-level funding this year, and to raise the LEHEAP funding level to $3.4 billion annually. # # #