Welch rallies coalition urging HHS to release LIHEAP funds

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Welch rallies coalition urging HHS to release LIHEAP funds

Tue, 10/26/2021 - 1:24pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont) led a coalition of 40 bipartisan members in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra, urging HHS to release Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds as quickly as possible and at the highest level available under the current continuing resolution.

“As state agencies work to prepare their LIHEAP programs for the coming winter, it is crucial that they have the resources they need to assist low-income households and seniors as soon as possible, especially in light of the current public health crisis,” the letter read. “It is essential that low-income households do not have to choose between paying for heat and affording other necessities like food or medicine.”

LIHEAP is the primary federal program providing assistance to low-income households, people with disabilities, veterans, and seniors to help pay their home energy bills. The combined impact of COVID-related financial hardship and increasingly extreme weather conditions due to climate change has made LIHEAP more important than ever. Millions of seniors and low-income households across the United States count on this life-saving program.

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

October 26, 2021

The Honorable Xavier Becerra

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Becerra,

As House champions for affordable energy assistance, we write to urge the Department of Health and Human Services to release Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds as quickly and at the highest level possible under the current continuing resolution. With the winter heating season rapidly approaching, we are concerned that funds have yet to be released and the most vulnerable Americans will be impacted.

LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills and provides critical assistance during the cold winter and hot summer months. October marks the start of the heating season for many states and low-income families and seniors will be facing additional strains on their household budgets. In addition, millions of low-income families, including seniors, are facing new and severe financial hardship due to COVID, making the assistance provided through LIHEAP more important than ever.

As state agencies work to prepare their LIHEAP programs for the coming winter, it is crucial that they have the resources they need to assist low-income households and seniors as soon as possible, especially in light of the current public health crisis. As such, we request that you quickly release LIHEAP at the highest level possible to allow states to prepare for the upcoming season. It is essential that low-income households do not have to choose between paying for heat and affording other necessities like food or medicine.

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,

 

PETER WELCH

Member of Congress

 

DAVID B. MCKINLEY, P.E.

Member of Congress

 

JAMES P. MCGOVERN

Member of Congress

 

ANDREW R. GARBARINO

Member of Congress

 

GWEN MOORE

Member of Congress

 

DANNY K. DAVIS

Member of Congress

 

DEBBIE DINGELL

Member of Congress

 

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

Member of Congress

 

CHELLIE PINGREE

Member of Congress

 

BRIAN FITZPATRICK

Member of Congress

 

GRACE F. NAPOLITANO

Member of Congress

 

NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN

Member of Congress

 

ALAN LOWENTHAL

Member of Congress

 

RITCHIE TORRES

Member of Congress

 

ILHAN OMAR

Member of Congress

 

 

ADRIANO ESPAILLAT

Member of Congress

 

JAKE AUCHINCLOSS

Member of Congress

 

BENNIE G. THOMPSON

Member of Congress

 

LUCY MCBATH

Member of Congress

 

GRACE MENG

Member of Congress

 

CONNOR LAMB

Member of Congress

 

KIM SCHRIER, M.D.

Member of Congress

 

PAUL D. TONKO

Member of Congress

 

ANN MCLANE KUSTER

Member of Congress

 

DANIEL T. KILDEE

Member of Congress

 

RON KIND

Member of Congress

 

THOMAS R. SUOZZI

Member of Congress

 

JAMAAL BOWMAN, ED.D

Member of Congress

 

BRENDAN F. BOYLE

Member of Congress

 

ANTONIO DELGADO

Member of Congress

 

CAROLYN B. MALONEY

Member of Congress

 

JERROLD NADLER

Member of Congress

 

BRENDA L. LAWRENCE

Member of Congress

 

HALEY STEVENS

Member of Congress

 

CHERI BUSTOS

Member of Congress

 

JARED GOLDEN

Member of Congress

 

PETER MEIJER

Member of Congress

 

JIM HIMES

Member of Congress

 

CHRIS JACOBS

Member of Congress

 

JOHN KATKO

Member of Congress

 

ELISE STEFANIK

Member of Congress