Tester fights to keep heat on for thousands of Montanans

Senator voices support for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

(U.S. Senate) – As lawmakers draft budget bills ahead of the December 11th deadline, Senator Jon Tester is urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide critical support for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the final appropriations bill of the year.

LIHEAP provides grants to eligible low-income households who need help paying their heating bills. LIHEAP is a vital source of heat for children, disabled individuals, and seniors living on fixed incomes. The program helped 20,000 households across Montana keep the heat on last winter.

“It’s December, and temperatures have begun to drop well below freezing,” Tester said. “Now is the time to make sure that every Montana family can stay warm again this winter.”

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, at its current funding level LIHEAP is only able to serve 20 percent of the eligible population. And even among the households that LIHEAP does serve, the average amount they’re awarded has decreased by nearly $100 since 2010.

Tester is requesting that the Appropriations Committee shore up the funding so more low income Montana families have access to LIHEAP.

Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who supported the bipartisan budget deal last month that lifted the budget caps allowing Congress to provide responsible investments in energy assistance.

Tester’s letter is signed by 35 other Senators and is available HERE.