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January 13, 2006

Pryce Applauds Release of $1 Billion to Help Low Income Families with Heating Bills  

House Voted Last Week for Immediate Release of LIHEAP Funds  

Washington, DC -- Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that $1 billion in supplemental funds have been released to help low income families pay their home energy bills. These funds are administered through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“American families were hit hard by enormous energy bills this winter. While we were fortunate to have endured a relatively mild winter in Ohio, you could nonetheless hear the collective gasp as central Ohioans opened their gas bills over the past few months.

“We know Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on our natural gas infrastructure and were largely responsible for the spike in energy prices across the nation. Nevertheless, low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes don’t need an explanation – they need assistance. I am grateful that this money is now available to those who need it most.

“With the additional funding, Ohio will gain $58.5 million in LIHEAP assistance; coupled with the previous $105 million, the total federal LIHEAP commitment to Ohio now tops $164 million, fourth most in the nation. These funds will help ensure that no one is forced to choose between heating their home and feeding their family.”

The $1 billion in LIHEAP funds were made available following a vote last week to reallocate funds appropriated to LIHEAP in the Deficit Reduction Act, signed into law in February. The vote makes the funds available in FY 2006 instead of FY 2007 to provide immediate assistance to America’s most needy and vulnerable families.

The LIHEAP program can help low income Americans with bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, and weatherization and energy-related home repairs.