Qtongress of tl1e m n i t   ~ §tutes

munqington, ilC!r 20515
January 24, 2014
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
u.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
As the people of Massachusetts continue to experience bitterly cold temperatures, the cost of
heating oil has gone up, while low income energy assistance remains in short supply. Across the
country, millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills and heat their homes. And with
the hazardous winter weather expected to continue for months, the need for more fuel assistance
could not be more urgent. Therefore, we strongly urge you to increase funding for the Low
Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the administrations Fiscal Year (FY)
2015 budget proposal, and to immediately release all remaining funds for Massachusetts.
The LIHEAP program was established in 1981 to help keep families warm in the winter months
and cool in the summer. Since its creation, the program has become a critically important lifeline
for many of the most vulnerable citizens in our society. As you know, 40 percent ofLIHEAP
recipients are senior citizens and nearly twenty percent are veterans. But despite the growing
demand for energy assistance, the program has been cut by nearly 30 percent in recent years.
With more 200,000 households in Massachusetts currently receiving federal relief, and a total of
1 million eligible families in the state, we find this trend simply alarming.
The federal budget is a reflection of our values as a nation. Protecting essential services like
heating assistance for the neediest among us should be a top priority. Struggling families in
Massachusetts, and across the country, should not have to endure extreme winter weather
conditions in a house without heat. Since the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act has been
signed into law, we ask you to immediately release all remaining LIHEAP funds so that
households in Massachusetts can stay warm and safe. We also reiterate our hope that you will
prioritize this critically important program in the FY 2015 budget.
We thank you for your attention to this timely and important matter.
Member of Congress
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