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Schumer Announces Bipartisan Push For Additional $2.92 Billion In LIHEAP Spending

Emergency Designation Funding Could Give New York State An Additional $200 Million

Schumer: Nobody Should Have To Choose Between Putting Food On The Table and Heating Their Home

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced a bipartisan campaign for an additional $2.92 billion for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as part of an emergency spending bill. Schumer, joining a coalition of Democratic and Republican Senators urged, the Senate Leadership to take immediate action on the emergency designation funding. So far New York State has received approximately $263 million, and this additional funding could bring the total to an estimated $471 million for FY 06 LIHEAP funding. The Energy Information Agency forecasts that households heating with natural gas will experience an average increase of 35 percent over last winter. Households heating with oil will see an increase of 23 percent, and households using propane can expect an increase of 17 percent.

Families and seniors in New York State deserve help from the federal government to heat their homes, Schumer said. With energy prices out of control, we have to help people pay for soaring heating costs. More people then ever are likely to qualify for LIHEAP assistance this winter and beyond, and we need additional funds so everyone who needs help will be able to receive assistance. Nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes.

In a letter in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the bipartisan coalition of Senator emphasized the need for immediate assistance, Working families are continuing to lose ground, meaning more families also need LIHEAP assistance this year. Paychecks are being stretched thinner as families face higher prices for home heating, health care, and education.

Schumer has been a leader of a bipartisan push to expand LIHEAP funding in Congress. In fact, last year Schumer cosponsored a bipartisan Senate measure to provide $2.92 billion for LIHEAP offset by placing a tax on the windfall profits of integrated oil companies. This would be a very small percentage of oil company profits.

In 2003, 750,000 New Yorkers received LIHEAP funding. These funds help LIHEAP recipients cover the gap between their existing LIHEAP benefit and their projected high heating bills. The New York State Public Service Commission recently reported that gas prices will be 35%45% higher than last year, and that the average consumer in New York uses approximately 90,000 cubic ft of natural gas this winter. While last years the New York average for natural gas price between October and March was $13.15, this years could be $18.42. Funding in the budget reconciliation measure is for the FY07 funding cycle.