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Biden Administration Offering More Aid For Heat, Utility Bills This Winter

The Biden Administration is taking steps to help distribute billions of dollars in additional aid to help with heating and utility bills this winter.

The funding will come from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March of this year.

The package provided an additional $4.5 billion for the government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The program’s annual funding is between $3 billion – $4 billion, which typically serves 5 million households.

In addition, the White House is saying that aid for renters through its Emergency Rental Assistance program can be used to “help with past-due utility bills or ongoing assistance with energy costs to help distressed renters avoid shut-offs and keep current on expenses.”

“It’s another example of where the American Rescue Plan included extra precautions to ensure we would be prepared,” said Gene Sperling, who is overseeing coronavirus relief for the White House. “These new programs and funding were designed to ensure that if the weather was colder or the prices were higher, we would have the highest resources ever to help as many hard-pressed families as possible.”

The administration says states and localities will have the flexibility to use Fiscal Recovery Funds to help deliver energy relief to families, including for middle-class households that may not be eligible for programs directed to the lowest-income consumers.

While Republicans maintain that the American Rescue Plan caused the high levels of inflation that the country is currently experiencing, spending from the package has already helped millions of households with higher utility bills.

According to the White House, nearly a third of families receiving the expanded child tax credit payments that were a part of the package used it to pay for utilities –including home energy costs – between July and October 2021.

Administration officials, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, will speak with Governors from several states today to brief them on the efforts.

 

 

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