WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would provide more help for low-income Maryland families in paying their heating bills this winter.
The LIHEAP Protection Act would maintain last year’s funding level of $4.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Nationwide, the program helps approximately 9 million households pay their energy bills and it provides assistance to 137,000 Maryland households. Co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
“There are many Maryland families that depend on the LIHEAP program to keep their homes warm in the winter,” said Senator Cardin. “Millions of people are suffering in this difficult economy and now is not the time to leave them in the cold by reducing funding for such a critical program.”
Senator Cardin also has signed a letter to Senate appropriators urging continued funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and State Energy Program (SEP) at adequate levels.
The WAP program helps low-income families, seniors and individuals with disabilities improve the energy efficiency of their homes. SEP allows states to assist with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that weatherizing homes under the WAP program reduces a family’s annual utility bill by $437. It also found that for each $1 in SEP funding there is a $7.22 in energy cost savings.