Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter calling on Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to take additional steps to reduce energy costs in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.
While the Biden administration has taken action to lower energy costs for families, Americans are feeling the financial impact of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. Oil prices have surged to their highest level since 2008, and natural gas prices have risen approximately 60 percent higher than this time last year. The letter asks for information regarding the impact of the energy crisis on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to assess the program’s current needs and to prepare for upcoming cooling and heating seasons. The letter was signed by 89 additional Members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
“While we commend President Biden’s leadership in addressing rising fuel costs caused by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, we are nonetheless concerned that this war could worsen and prolong the financial impact of high energy prices on American families,” wrote the Members. “LIHEAP plays a critical role in offsetting burdensome heating and cooling costs that strain the budgets of financially vulnerable Americans. But as prices skyrocket because of Russia’s aggression in Europe, states will have to make tough choices about the number of people they serve and the amount of LIHEAP assistance they can provide to each household.”
They continued, “Recognizing this growing need, we respectfully request that you work with the Department of Energy to determine the impacts Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have on the home energy prices of low-income Americans for the remainder of this fiscal year and next. We also ask that you make recommendations for additional funding for LIHEAP, including supplemental and contingency funding, to minimize the impacts.”
Full text of the letter is available here.
Senator Cortez Masto’s efforts to lower prices at the pump are part of her comprehensive work to ease cost burdens for Nevadans. She’s pushed critical legislation to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks, introduced a bill to cap the price of insulin, proposed a federal gas tax holiday, and called on the Biden administration to develop a long-term, government-wide strategy to lower gas prices. She has also been a champion for renewable energy and clean transportation development to help lower energy prices for Nevadans through her Innovation State Initiative.