U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush Turns Up The Heat For Illinois Residents With Passage Of Amendment To Increase Energy Assistance Funds For Low-Income Residents
Washington, DC. ---- Congressman Bobby L. Rush announced today that the Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which he is a member, passed his amendment during mark ups of the energy bill to increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
"Recognizing the energy needs of the First Congressional District and the entire state of Illinois, this is a significant milestone to ensure residents do not go without critical heating and cooling options," said Rush. "I will continue to fight for those low-income households, which are the most vulnerable for health and safety issues during extreme weather conditions."
For LIHEAP, which is designed to subsidize energy costs for low income households, Rush's amendment calls for increased funding by 50% from $3.4 billion to $5.1 billion. For the Weatherization Assistance Program, which retro-fits and "weatherizes" low-income households to help make them more energy efficient, Rush's amendment authorizes an additional $175 million for fiscal year 2006; an additional $200 million for fiscal year 2007; and an additional $200 million for 2008. The program also raises eligibility from 124% to 150% of the poverty level.
With a $1.975 billion dollar LIHEAP allotment for 2005, Illinois currently receives $107,733,000. Rush's amendment passed overwhelmingly with a 33-16 vote.
Assuming that the bill passes, the next step is for appropriators to honor and adhere to the authorization. If approved, the funds will be available in 2006.