By Kate Sullivan, CNN
The Biden administration on Thursday will announce it is sending more than $385 million to states to help offset high home energy costs, including cooling costs this summer, a White House official tells CNN.
The funding will be distributed through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps families afford heating and cooling. The announcement comes as Americans face high utility bills as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sends energy prices soaring and amid persistent global supply chain problems.
The President is traveling on Thursday to the Pacific Northwest, which saw record heat last year, and will highlight the work his administration is doing to try to offset home energy costs and overall lower prices for families.
The $385 million is in addition to $4.5 billion that the American Rescue Plan provided to LIHEAP and the $500 million allocated by the bipartisan infrastructure law to the same program.
Earlier this year, HHS announced it was distributing the first $100 million of the $500 million in the bipartisan infrastructure law to help Americans pay for their heating bills, which skyrocketed for many this winter. It was the first installment of a five-year investment.
Thursday’s funding will be released by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The White House says the announcement brings the total amount of LIHEAP funding allocated to Oregon — where the President is traveling on Thursday — to $92.6 million. Washington — where the President is traveling on Friday — will receive a total of $151.2 million for the program.
LIHEAP typically assists more than 5 million Americans, or about 1 in 6 eligible households.
Western states faced a record-breaking heat wave last year, putting millions of Americans in danger of heat-related health issues. The President has said the climate crisis is driving up the increased threat from wildfires and extreme heat. Large temperature fluctuations can also significantly affect home utility costs.
The President is traveling to Portland on Thursday to highlight the work his administration is doing to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and supply chains and will tout investments made by the bipartisan infrastructure law. On Friday, which is Earth Day, the President will travel to Seattle and discuss his administration’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
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