Monday, November 21, 2011
CONGRESSMAN REED TO INTRODUCE LOW INCOME HEATING IMPROVEMENT ACT
Congressman Tom Reed announced this morning that he will introduce the Low Income Heating Improvement Act in the House of Representatives. The legislation will ensure that LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funds are directed first to cold-weather states.
“The goal is to restore the LIHEAP funding to its original purpose: funding heat for low-income families and individuals in cold-weather states,” Reed explained. “Our bill ensures that LIHEAP funds go to cold-weather states that routinely battle temperatures below freezing. Home heating in these states is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”
Since its inception in 1981, LIHEAP support has been critical to low-income families as they try to keep their homes warm. The formula for allotting funds to states to administer LIHEAP originally provided greater consideration to low-income households facing cold weather conditions. However, formula changes over the years have shifted the focus to a general energy assistance program – diverting funds away from families who struggle to heat their homes during cold winter months.
“I have always said that as we reduce federal spending, we must do so by making difficult choices on priorities,” Reed said. “In Upstate New York winters, directing heating assistance dollars to the families who need it the most is a priority. This is a common-sense return to the program’s original intent.”
The legislative language was completed last week and Reed is building a bipartisan coalition of House members from cold weather states to support the bill.