Tester pushes heating assistance for low-income Montanans

Senator: No one should have to choose between staying warm and paying for food

(BUTTE, Mont.) – With winter approaching, Senator Jon Tester wants to make sure Montanans get the assistance they need to stay warm.

Tester is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly release funds that help low-income households and seniors pay their energy bills. The initiative, LIHEAP, provided nearly 20,000 Montana households with assistance last year. Montana children under the age of five accounted for nearly 20 percent of those served.

“This funding is an indispensable lifeline during challenging times, helping to ensure recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine,” Tester told HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “As states begin to provide assistance this winter, it is critical they have the resources to assist households as soon as possible.”

On average, low-income families and seniors spend a higher proportion of their income on energy. LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, provides states with resources to support these residents.

Tester previously worked with former Montana Senator Max Baucus to call on the Administration to restore LIHEAP funding for the 2014 Fiscal Year.

Tester’s bipartisan letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is available online HERE. It is signed by 45 other Senators, including fellow Montana Senator John Walsh.