Reps. Pingree, Courtney Lead New Effort to Press for Additional Home Energy Assistance Funding
Washington, September 15, 2022
Today, Reps. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Joe Courtney (CT-02) led a coalition of representatives from the New England Congressional Delegations in writing to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees, urging them to include additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the upcoming government funding package. As winter approaches, funding for LIHEAP is important for households in Maine and throughout New England.
The LIHEAP program, which benefits nearly 33,000 households Maine households, has received increased overall funding recently thanks to bills like the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Additional funding for the LIHEAP program would provide even more home energy assistance to people throughout the region.
In their letter, Pingree, Courtney and the New England Delegation members noted that the prices of electricity, natural gas, and heating oil remain high—a problem particularly for regions of the country that rely on heating and cooling assistance as winter approaches. Specifically, they stated:
“As members of the New England delegation, we urge the Committee to include additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the upcoming continuing resolution. After spending the last several weeks speaking with constituents in our districts, it is apparent that the highest possible supplemental funding level is needed to support heating needs in the winter season across the nation and particularly in New England.
“We greatly appreciate the Committee’s proposed increase for the annual appropriation for LIHEAP for Fiscal Year 2023 […] but we urge the committee to ensure that the final level of emergency funding reflects the acute needs of regions that rely on heating and cooling assistance.
“The United States has experienced severe energy shortages and price increases due to a variety of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Severe weather in the upcoming months could make this shortage even worse. […]
“These shortages contribute to the high prices which are having significant impacts on our region’s electric, heating oil, and natural gas customers. […] These increased costs will strain the finances of vulnerable families, forcing many to fall behind on their utility bills and make other difficult financial decisions.
“Even under normal circumstances, LIHEAP provides vital assistance for families across the country who need assistance with their heating and cooling costs and their home energy bills. With the current energy crisis in New England, it is even more important that Congress meets the needs of families that rely on LIHEAP to afford their energy bills. We urge the Committee to meet the demand of New England and the rest of the nation by appropriating emergency supplemental funding for LIHEAP in the upcoming continuing resolution.”
To read Rep. Courtney and Rep. Pingree’s full letter in support of LIHEAP, click here.
In writing to press for additional LIHEAP funding, Pingree and Courtney were joined by 17 other Members of Congress, including Reps. David Cicilline (RI-01), Richard Neil (MA-01), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Bill Keating (MA-09), Jim Himes (CT-04), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Jared Golden (ME-02), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), John Larson (CT-01), and Jim McGovern (MA-02).
In January 2021, Pingree joined more than 60 members of Congress in urging House Leadership, successfully, to include additional funding for LIHEAP in the American Rescue Plan. Pingree was a proud supporter of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law last March. Additionally, in October 2021, Pingree and a coalition of bipartisan members urged Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to release LIHEAP funds to state agencies as quickly as possible and at the highest level available.
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.