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McHugh votes for major increase in LIHEAP funding

PLATTSBURGH - Congressman John M. McHugh (NY-Pierrepont Manor) announced that he voted today for H.R. 2638, the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009. This legislation included significant and immediate funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The LIHEAP funds will bring total funding for New York State to a record level of over $476 million for Fiscal Year 2009, an increase of over $116 million from Fiscal Year 2008. LIHEAP funding is absolutely essential for residents across New York State, particularly as the price of heating a home this winter is predicted to rise and our country faces increasing economic uncertainty. Thus, it is a significant step forward that New York State will receive increased funding for the coming year and that this emergency money will be delivered to our state within 30 days. I will continue to ensure that we maintain such high levels of funding for LIHEAP in the coming years, as it is essential to ensure that every person who qualifies for LIHEAP assistance receives it, said Congressman McHugh. Immediately, this increase in funding will help the residents of the 23rd District, and I am proud to support it. As a lifelong resident of the North Country, I know how critical each dollar of LIHEAP funding is to families and seniors across the area. Therefore, I will continue to work to ensure that LIHEAP is fully appropriated each year so that states may plan with certainty. The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 makes appropriations for the federal government through March 6, 2009 because, as of yet, the normal appropriations process has not been completed. The current fiscal year ends on September 30, 2008. H.R. 2638 includes $1.98 billion in regular funding for LIHEAP, the same amount as appropriated last year, and $590 million in contingency funds. Furthermore, this measure includes $2.5 billion in emergency LIHEAP funding that must be released to the states within 30 days. The combination of all of these monies excluding the $590 million in contingency funds which will be distributed throughout the year as designated by the President would give New York State an estimated $476 million for Fiscal Year 2009, far more than any other state. Fiscal year 2008 funding for New York was $359.6 million. During the 2007-2008 season, over 55,000 households received LIHEAP assistance in the 23rd Congressional District for a total of over $32 million in funding. Individuals looking for more information or to apply for LIHEAP should contact the state coordinator by either calling 1-800-342-3009, emailing NYSHEAP@dfa.state.ny.us, or visiting www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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