February 2, 2010 - Issue: Vol. 156, No. 15 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 2nd Session
INTRODUCTION OF THE ENERGY ASSISTANCE FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 15
(Extensions of Remarks - February 02, 2010)
Text available as:
Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.
[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E122] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCTION OF THE ENERGY ASSISTANCE FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES ACT ______ HON. EDWARD J. MARKEY of massachusetts in the house of representatives Tuesday, February 2, 2010 Mr. MARKEY of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a vital safety net for millions of Americans. This winter, a perfect storm of economic hardship, rising heating oil prices, and increased demand for home energy assistance is leading to a serious home energy crisis for millions of Americans. The Energy Assistance for American Families Act that I am introducing today would increase the level of funding for LIHEAP and expand its availability in order to protect millions of American families who are facing difficult choices this winter between paying for food or paying for fuel. The Energy Assistance for American Families Act would increase the authorized funding level for LIHEAP to $7.6 billion per year for fiscal years 2011 to 2014, an increase of $2.5 billion over the last authorized level, enacted in 2005. The Energy Assistance for American Families Act would also extend the expanded eligibility levels that were included in the omnibus appropriations bills for fiscal years 2009 and 2010--giving states the option of helping families with incomes up to 75 percent of the State Median Income level. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), states assisted 8.3 million households last year--more than a 33 percent increase in the number of households served from the previous year. In my home state of Massachusetts, LIHEAP funding helped 186,160 Massachusetts families in 2009, according to the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance. However, overall demand for LIHEAP aid is rising this year, in large part due to the economic downturn. NEADA estimates that 10 million households may apply for assistance this year. Increasing the LIHEAP funding level will allow states to meet this increased demand and to continue to provide meaningful aid. Energy prices are also on the rise--average household expenditures on heating oil this winter are expected to increase to $1,911 from $1,864 last winter, according to the Department of Energy. The Energy Assistance for American Families Act will allow grants to continue to cover a significant portion of home heating bills. Our economy may finally be heating up, but the effects of a recession, periods of cold weather, and rising energy prices are still having a chilling effect on millions of American families. Expanding LIHEAP's funding and availability is absolutely essential to help families who are struggling this winter. ____________________