WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to help people stay safe and provide assistance to households struggling with rising energy bills, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), senior members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, are leading a bipartisan coalition of senators in urging the leaders of two Appropriations subcommittees to provide robust funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and the State Energy Program (SEP).

In a letter sent today, Senators Reed, Collins and 42 of their colleagues are urging the leaders of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to fund LIHEAP at no less than $4.7 billion in FY 2015.

“LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing vital assistance during both the cold winter and hot summer months,” the letter reads.  “LIHEAP assistance is an indispensable lifeline, helping to ensure that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and affording other necessities like food and medicine.  Access to affordable home energy is a matter of health and safety for many low-income households, children, and seniors.”

Preserving LIHEAP funding is a perennial bipartisan priority for Reed and Collins, and together they have repelled every attempt in recent years to pare back the funding appropriated for this critical program.

In a second letter sent to the leaders of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Senators Reed, Collins and 38 of their colleagues are urging WAP and SEP be funded at $230 million and $63 million, respectively, in FY 2015.

“For more than three decades, the Weatherization Assistance Program has helped low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities make lasting and cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to their homes,” the letter reads.  “The State Energy Program also has a history of success working across all sectors of the economy and supporting cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.”