THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
LETTER BY PRESIDENT CLINTON TO CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ON LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Dear Mr. Leader:
I am increasingly concerned that, under the current continuing resolution, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) is not meeting the needs of families requiring heating assistance.
With the onset of winter, low-income families need more help to keep their homes warm. Each year, LIHEAP assistance goes to about six million needy households, many of which have an elderly or disabled member or young children.
Normally, by this time of year, States' energy assistance programs would be adequately funded to help households tackle high energy bills and insulate drafty homes. This year, however, Congress still has not passed a full-year appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies -- the bill which funds LIHEAP. The House voted to end LIHEAP altogether.
Under the two continuing resolutions that have been enacted this fall, LIHEAP has been funded at only $232 million. Last year, over three times that amount was available to States between September and the end of December.
I strongly urge Congress to pass a full-year appropriation as soon as possible that includes funding for LIHEAP. At a minimum, Congress must enable the Administration to make available a seasonally appropriate share of the previously appropriated funds for LIHEAP.
Congress should act quickly. Since winter is almost upon us, a rising number of low-income Americans, particularly those living in colder regions, will continue to need more help to keep warm at home.
[signed Bill Clinton]
The Honorable Robert Dole
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510