**Bicameral letter to Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees was signed by 58 Members of Congress**
(Nashua, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee – and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) joined a bipartisan, bicameral push to increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps over 5.3 million households nationwide afford their energy bills.
The letter was sent to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging the Committees to address the expected surge in home energy prices with emergency supplemental funding for LIHEAP. In total, the letter was signed by a total of 58 Members of Congress.
“In light of skyrocketing home energy bills and additional increases expected for this winter, we urge the Committee to provide emergency supplemental funding for this critical program,” the 58 members of Congress wrote.
“The Committee’s efforts to increase the annual appropriation for LIHEAP for Fiscal Year 2023 represents an important commitment to restoring funding to the levels reached over a decade ago. However, because of the run-up in natural gas, heating oil, and electricity prices, we are deeply concerned that we will not meet the needs of low-income families this winter,” the members continued. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index recently reported alarming increases across all sources of home energy fuel over the past 12 months. Natural gas is up 38.4 percent from this time last year – the largest such increase since the period ending in October 2005. Electricity is up 13.7 percent – the largest such increase since the period ending in April 2006 – and heating oil is up 98.5 percent.”
Annual federal funding levels are currently set to reach about $4 billion in fiscal year 2023. However, more is needed as cost increases have diminished the purchasing power of LIHEAP dollars. The price of home heating oil nearly doubled in the past year, and electricity and natural gas prices are projected to rise significantly.
Full text of the letter can be found here.
As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has prioritized ensuring Granite State families and seniors have access to heating and energy assistance. Senator Shaheen championed increases in funding for key programs to assist Granite State families with home heating bills, efficiency upgrades and emergency situations in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Senate government funding proposal released earlier this month. The FY 2023 proposal includes $4 billion for LIHEAP, an increase of $200 million over FY 2022. Senator Shaheen also used her role as a lead negotiator for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to push to increase LIHEAP funding for Granite State families, leading to the highest total of LIHEAP funding ever received in a 12-month period in New Hampshire history. In addition to the $900 million in LIHEAP funds allocated through the CARES Act in 2020, Shaheen and Hassan worked to secure $4.5 billion for LIHEAP in the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March 2021 and provided $35,498,757 to New Hampshire. Last year, Shaheen and Hassan sent a bipartisan letter that successfully pushed the Biden administration to swiftly release LIHEAP funding, including $25,192,436 for New Hampshire, under the temporary government funding measure ahead of the winter season. Following the June announcement of energy rate increases approved by New Hampshire’s Public Utilities Commission, the New Hampshire Delegation urged the state to use the remaining funding secured in the American Rescue Plan to provide financial assistance to help Granite Staters afford their home energy bills. Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to bring down energy costs for Granite Staters. Senator Hassan successfully included in the Inflation Reduction Act her measure with Susan Collins (R-ME) to help lower energy costs for families and reduce carbon emissions by expanding and extending a tax credit for energy efficient home upgrades.