Mikulski Calls For Aid To Americans Struggling To Heat Their Homes In Cold Wave

"No one deserves to be cold this winter."—Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

WASHINGTON - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) called on President Bush to release $200 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) emergency funds to help people stay warm during an extended nationwide cold wave that has already left at least nine people dead. Senator Mikulski joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues, led by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), in sending a letter to the President, urging him to help families and senior citizens survive the harsh winter.

"No one deserves to be cold this winter. But people in Maryland and across the country continue to feel stretched and strained in the face of spikes in energy costs as they try to heat their homes," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to fight with my colleagues to help families in need."


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The text of Sen. Mikulski's letter to Pres. Bush is below:

Dear Mr. President:

We urge you to immediately release $200 million which is available in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) emergency contingency fund.

The release of LIHEAP contingency funds is needed to help states meet additional energy-related needs resulting from the extended arctic cold wave which has covered much of the nation during the past several days, causing temperatures in some regions to dip to forty-two degrees below zero. At least nine deaths spread over five states have been attributed to the surge of cold weather.

Between FY 2005 and FY 2006 the number of households receiving heating assistance increased from 5.1 million to 5.7 million. Preliminary reports from state officials suggest that the number of households applying for energy assistance for FY 2007 is likely to remain at FY 2006 levels. However, as a result of the recent surge of cold weather, several states across the Union are already running out of funds. These states have few or no funds remaining to address crises conditions and the situation is expected to get considerably worse in the next few weeks.

No family in our nation should be forced to choose between heating their home and putting food on the table for their children. No senior citizen should have to decide between buying life-saving prescriptions and paying utility bills. We urge you to immediately release the remaining balance of funds in the LIHEAP contingency fund.

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