Klobuchar, Franken Urge Senate Leadership to Provide Full Funding for Heating Assistance for Minnesota Seniors and Families

Press Release

Date: Nov. 17, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

With temperatures dropping across Minnesota and energy prices rising, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (D-Minn.) called on Senate leadership to fully fund a critical program that helps a growing number of Minnesota's seniors and families afford to keep their heat on in the winter.

"At a time when countless Minnesotans are struggling with this tough economy, the rise in home heating costs puts an even greater strain on their household budgets," said Sen. Klobuchar. "We must work to ensure that all Minnesotans have the support they need so no one will be left out in the cold."

"People all over Minnesota are struggling to make ends meet, and falling temperatures and rising energy costs are only going to make it more difficult for them to get by," said Sen. Franken. "Heating assistance is a last resort for seniors and families who can't afford to heat their homes. Congress needs to make sure this critical program is funded next year, because Minnesotans should never have to choose between putting food on the table and staying warm."

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a new, lower allocation formula for funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in 2012. That means that Minnesota could face drastic shortfalls next year, especially since heating costs are predicted to rise and the number of eligible Minnesotans is also expected to rise. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Appropriations Committee Chair Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Sens. Klobuchar and Franken, as well as 32 of their Senate colleagues, urged Congressional leadership to ensure that any new appropriations bill include funding for LIHEAP at a level no lower than the Fiscal Year 2011 level.

Since taking office, Sens. Klobuchar and Franken have successfully fought to ensure that tens of millions of dollars in emergency LIHEAP funding have been available to Minnesota families and seniors.