Tester, Baucus fight for Montanans struggling to stay warm this winter
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus are calling on the Administration to restore federal heating funds that thousands of Montanans rely upon every winter. Last year, Montana LIHEAP provided roughly 29,500 households with assistance to help with heating costs. Montana children under the age of 5 accounted for more than 50 percent of those served.
"Low-income families spend more of their income just keeping their homes warm, and no one should have to face a Montana winter without something as basic as heat," Tester said. "This bipartisan initiative keeps energy affordable and makes sure folks do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine."
"Too many of our working families and seniors are forced to choose between staying warm or putting food on the table. We're fighting to make sure Montanans who rely on this program aren't left out in the cold during the harshest months," said Baucus.
In a bipartisan letter to the President, Tester and Baucus urge him to restore Fiscal Year 2014 funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to at least the FY 2011 level of $4.7 billion. The economic downturn and rising energy prices have triggered a record number of applicants for home heating assistance nationwide.
In November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released their Winter Fuels Outlook report which stated that the average expenditures for households that heat with heating oil are forecast to be higher than any previous winter on record. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.