Tester Demands Senate Fund Vital Energy Assistance Program for Montana Families After Trump Budget Slashes Program

Senator urges colleagues to retain support for program that helps low-income Montanans keep the heat on

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – After the President’s proposed FY2020 budget slashed funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), U.S. Senator Jon Tester joined a bipartisan letter urging his colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to maintain funding for the critical program that helps thousands of Montanans heat their homes.

The letter urges the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to continue funding the vital program that helps keep energy costs low so Montanans can afford to heat their homes through the winter.

“Extreme weather caused by climate change is making our seasons harsher and more unpredictable,” Tester said. “Montana families need affordable access to home energy to stay safe, and cutting off funding for this critical program is a heartless move that would leave the thousands who rely on it to heat their homes out in the cold.”

LIHEAP is the primary federal program that helps low-income households and seniors pay for their energy bills, providing assistance in both the winter and summer months. Over 71 percent of LIHEAP recipients have at least one child, senior, or individual with a disability in the household.

Just a few months after Tester fought to secure $3.69 billion for LIHEAP in the 2019 budget bill, President Donald Trump proposed a budget that would eliminate the program entirely. In 2019, Montana received over $25 million in LIHEAP grant funds, including over $4 million for Tribes.

Tester has been a consistent defender of LIHEAP and other measures to lower energy costs. Last month, he wrote a letter to the President urging him to prioritize funding for the program. He also recently introduced the Improving Rural Access to Power Act to lower energy costs and improve electric infrastructure in rural Montana.