From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the approach of a potentially harsh winter, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Thursday announced he is pressing the House to take action to avoid budget cuts for a critical heating assistance program that would disrupt aid to more than 100,000 West Virginia households.


“I am deeply concerned about proposed funding cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program,” wrote Rahall in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the program.  “It is callous and irresponsible to allow our most vulnerable populations, especially our seniors, to bear the brunt of budgetary cutbacks.  With rising health care and food costs, cuts in LIHEAP may force families to have to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.”


The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low-income households in meeting their immediate home energy needs with help paying utility bills.  Last year, LIHEAP helped to heat 103,583 households in West Virginia throughout the winter, with more than a third of those homes located in southern West Virginia.  These funds assisted families to prevent potentially life-threatening situations, and early indications suggest that even more West Virginians may request help staying warm this winter.


The House has not yet passed the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bill that funds the LIHEAP program, although legislation has been introduced that will cut funding by approximately 25 percent and does not include contingency funds. Interim funding through a Continuing Resolution is set to expire on November 18, 2011.