January 15, 2004
As you move to unveil the President’s fiscal 2005 Budget, I want to bring to your personal attention an increasingly important program — LIHEAP — that many seniors increasingly depend on. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is more important than ever, because we have seen a significant run-up in the price of natural gas. As you know, the price of gas has soared to the point of attracting the personal attention of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He’s bluntly warned that it could threaten our economy.
I commend the many fine steps the President and Speaker have taken to improve America’s access to gas. These actions will ensure that a market-based solution is put forth. However, in the interim, eligible seniors on fixed incomes need to be able to turn to LIHEAP. I urge you to aggressively fund this important program. It is best-positioned to deal with the seventy percent price spikes that folks are now enduring. A decision to increase LIHEAP funding offers other benefits as well, particularly to more equitably reach those suffering from the health and even life-threatening problems of extreme heat and cold. Full funding would begin to resolve regional inequities that have hamstrung this program for too long.
Both of the above objectives are not only noble — they’re urgently warranted. On behalf of the 4.5 million seniors that the 60 Plus Association relies on for support, I urge you to fully fund LIHEAP.
James L. Martin
cc: Hon. Ted Stevens, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
Hon. Arlen Specter, Chairman, Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee
Hon. C.W. Bill Young, Chairman, House Appropriations Committee
Hon. Ralph Regula, Chairman, House Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Subcommittee
Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Hon. Alan Greenspan, Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve