U.S. REP. BOBBY L. RUSH URGES PRESIDENT BUSH TO FULLY FUND LIHEAP IN EXCLUSIVE MEETING Rush Says Bushs Proposed LIHEAP Budget Amount Does Little To Offset Energy Costs For Low-Income Families
WASHINGTON (March 9, 2006) - At the request of President Bush, Congressman Bobby L. Rush and several other bipartisan Members of Congress, most of whom who sit on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, met with the president to discuss his Advanced Energy Initiative, which was outlined during his State of the Union Address.
During the meeting, Congressman Rush urged President Bush to fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as authorized with the passage of his amendment under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for $5.1 billion. A staunch champion for LIHEAP, Rush also called on Bush to fully fund the Weatherization Program.
"I am disappointed by President Bushs lackadaisical response when I asked him why he has not fully funded LIHEAP. President Bushs rationale of asking for more LIHEAP funding this year than last year just does not sit well with me or the low income citizens with dire heating and cooling needs, who were counting on the full $5.1 billion.
As natural gas prices continue to soar, an incremental increase will have little impact and provide minimal relief for the thousands of LIHEAP beneficiaries.
Of the $5.1 billion that was authorized, President Bush proposed budget currently only calls for $2.8 billion for LIHEAP, a slight increase from the $2.16 billion last year.
This meeting comes on the heels of approval by the Senate for an extra $1 billion in LIHEAP funds to help low income families offset their energy costs. The Senates bill calls for shifting $1 billion earmarked for fiscal year 2007 to be used in 2006, bringing total LIHEAP funding to $3.1 billion.
Congressman Rush says he will fight for the House of Representatives to pass similar measures that were passed in the Senate, and provide immediate increased funding for LIHEAP. Whether the House votes on the Senate measure itself or takes up a separate bill that differs from the Senate language, Rush believes the House must act. The Senate has moved a bill that will provide an immediate $1 billion increase in LIHEAP funding for 2006. There is no reason why we cant do similarly in the House of Representatives.