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Heating and Cooling Relief Act: Cost-Saving Home Energy Assistance Program Led by Rep. Bowman and Sen. Markey.

(Photo: https://www.wnyc.org/)
The Heating and Cooling Relief Act is a piece of legislation that would invest in and grow the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) so that everyone could get help with their energy costs. At the moment, it is thought that only 16% of households that are eligible for LIHEAP are actually getting help. This article talks about the Heating and Cooling Relief Act by Rep. Bowman and Sen. Markey. 
Heating and Cooling Relief Act: Transform Cost-Saving Home Energy Assistance Program Led by Rep. Bowman and Sen. Markey.

(Photo: https://www.wnyc.org/)

 

The statement of Congressman Jamaal Bowman regarding the Heating and Cooling Relief Act.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman said, “There’s no reason why people in the richest country on earth should have to choose between staying warm in the winter or cool in the summer and being able to pay rent or put food on the table” (NY-16).

“Senator Markey and I are working to make America a place where everyone’s humanity is respected. Our Heating and Cooling Relief Act makes it possible for every family to pay their energy bills. This is an issue of economic and racial justice because Black, Latino, and Indigenous households all pay a disproportionate amount for energy.

The lack of energy help is also a public health crisis, because people with high energy costs are more likely to get respiratory diseases and heat strokes. The truth is that no one in this country should have to use their stoves or turn on space heaters to keep warm because their bills are so high.

This bill is a bold approach to energy assistance that meets the needs of the time by making it much easier for tens of millions more people to get energy assistance. I’m proud to have Senator Markey as a partner in this fight.

Senator Ed Markey said, “Access to cost-saving heating and cooling is a basic humanitarian right that protects our health and safety and shouldn’t be limited to those who can pay for it” (D-Mass.). “Families shouldn’t have to choose between paying their bills and staying warm this winter.

I’m glad that Congressman Bowman and I are working hard to make sure that home energy funding, which is a crucial lifeline for families all over the country, is available to everyone who needs it. Our Heating and Cooling Relief Act would give money to LIHEAP for millions more Americans and make sure the program has all the help it needs to reach out to more eligible households and help them all.

The bill also takes steps to make it easier for people who get help from LIHEAP to pay for their energy costs and to reduce our use of fossil fuels by putting more money into heat insulation. The Heating and Cooling Relief Act is the optimistic and thorough bill we need to protect the health and safety of US families and help them make a fair transition away from fossil fuels.

The Heating and Cooling Relief Act, in particular:

Increases funding for LIHEAP to $40 billion a year and makes it easier for more people to qualify, so that no household pays more than 3% of its annual income on energy costs. Allows households to self-certify that they meet the eligibility requirements for LIHEAP; raises the administrative cap for outreach, technology, and staffing; and makes sure that LIHEAP coordinators are paid enough to live on;

Protects consumers by making sure that no eligible household has its utilities turned off or pays late fees, that every household that gets money can pay off its utility debt, and that utility companies set up discounted payment plans to help consumers;

Makes sure that states can use LIHEAP to deal with climate change by giving more money for cooling assistance and making sure that households can get help with their utilities during big disasters; and Increases the amount of money that can be used for weatherization through LIHEAP and creates a new Just Transition Grant for states and localities to help LIHEAP-eligible households reduce their energy costs and encourage the use of renewable energy.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice, the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA), the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), the National Housing Law Project, Public Citizen, the Sunrise Movement, Evergreen Action, the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), the Sierra Club.

The Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC), Food and Water Watch, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Ecolo have all backed the Heating and Cooling Relief Act.

Senator Markey introduced the Strategic reserve, Appliance, Vehicle, and Energy efficiency for Consumers Act (S. 3815) last May to help the American people in the short term by giving the president the power to set energy efficiency goals for states during an energy supply emergency.

It also tried to help Americans feel better by moving up the sale of millions of barrels of oil that came from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Biden administration did the same thing by putting up to 180 million barrels of oil on the market. Senator Markey also asked the Biden administration to do something to lower energy costs for people in New England. As winter was coming and Americans’ energy costs were still high, Senator Markey made this request.

 

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