Sen. Franken, 41 Colleagues Urge Continued Funding for Heating Assistance in FY2011
Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and 41 of his Senate colleagues called on the leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to extend funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at fiscal year 2010 levels. Full LIHEAP funding was included in October's Continuing Resolution, which funds government agencies at 2010 levels until an appropriations bill can be passed for 2011. However, the Department of Health and Human Services provided grants to states based on the lower numbers that Senate Appropriators approved for FY2011, meaning that Minnesota could face significant shortfalls in fiscal year 2011. Unless Congress maintains last year's funding levels, the LIHEAP grant amount for Minnesota would be cut by 40 percent from fiscal year 2010.
"While our economy is showing signs of recovery, millions of Americans are still out of work and struggling to make ends meet," said Sen. Franken. "With temperatures falling and heating costs soaring, the LIHEAP program is a last resort for Minnesotans who otherwise can't afford to heat their homes. It's vitally important that Congress make these funds available."
The letter was addressed to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Appropriations, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. It was signed by a bipartisan group of 42 senators. The letter can be viewed here.