Tester Secures Resources to Help Families in Indian Country Stay Warm Next Winter

Senator Slams President Trump’s Plan to Eliminate Critical Low-Income Heating Assistance Initiative

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester has secured funding to help families in Indian Country stay warm next winter, as proposed budget cuts threaten to eliminate the critical energy assistance.

Tester today announced that Montana tribes will receive over $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP provides states and tribes with resources to support these residents when paying their monthly heating bill.

“Before we know it, winter will be back and temperatures will drop below freezing, and it is critical that families have access to resources to stay warm and healthy,” Tester said. “Folks in Indian Country shouldn’t be forced to choose between keeping the heat on and putting food on the table. These funds will directly impact thousands of Montanans and ensure that nobody is left out in the cold.”

Tester helped secure LIHEAP funds in this year’s federal budget. Tester secured funding for the following tribes:

  • Fort Peck Tribes – $85,966
  • Blackfeet Tribe – $103,854 
  • Chippewa-Cree Tribe – $30,703
  • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes – $122,006 
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community – $35,908 
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe – $48,189

President Trump is pushing to eliminate LIHEAP in the 2018 budget, which is a vital source of heat for children, disabled individuals, and seniors living on fixed incomes and helps 20,000 households across Montana keep the heat on each winter. Tester is using his position on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee to fight President Trump’s attempt to eliminate LIHEAP.

“We need to reign in the federal debt, but I won’t allow President Trump to make harmful cuts on the backs of families in Indian Country,” Tester added.

Low-income families and seniors on-average spend a higher proportion of their income on energy than their peers.

Each tribe will distribute LIHEAP funds to local residents.