Omnibus Agreement Paves Way for Additional LIHEAP Funds



For Immediate Release: January 30, 2014

Contact: Vince Morris/(202) 224-1010

Omnibus Agreement Paves Way for Additional LIHEAP Funds for American People, Mikulski says

New investment in heating assistance benefiting 7.7 million households released today

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today released the following statement on the release of additional LIHEAP funding for states:

"The freezing weather gripping half the nation has taken lives and makes it especially hard for families who are trying to pay for groceries and basic needs while also heating their homes. The additional $454 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will make an immediate difference for those people, and I am pleased we were able to use the Appropriations process to find ways to assist more households cover these costs. Children and seniors should never have to worry if they will be able to heat their homes during cold winter months."

LIHEAP is a direct assistance program in which the federal government distributes resources to states in order to assist low-income Americans with their heating and cooling bills.

Forty percent of households that receive LIHEAP assistance include a family member over age 60, while another 42 percent are home to a person with a disability. About 21 percent of those households have a child under age five and about 20 percent of households include a veteran.

The initial investment in LIHEAP funding from the federal government came last November and was distributed to all states. Today’s announcement that an additional $454 million will be provided to states comes in the wake of the effort earlier this month by Mikulski to boost investment in the program in the bipartisan Omnibus appropriations legislation.

Through Mikulski’s efforts, $169 million for LIHEAP was added to the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, the first increase in low income home energy spending since fiscal year 2009.

The Energy Information Administration has estimated that home heating costs will increase about 6.7% this winter compared to last, with the prices of some fuels, particularly propane, increasing significantly more.