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Copy Of Letter To Ronald Reagan Request For Funding For Low Income Energy Assistance Program



Copy Of Letter To Ronald Reagan Request For Funding For Low Income Energy Assistance Program


Copy of letter from members of Congress to Ronald Reagan requesting funding levels to reflect rising energy costs on poor and elderly.


Reagan, Ronald
Poor Energy assistance
United States. Congress
Older people Energy assistance


United States. Congress




Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)




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United States


November 23, 1982
The Honorable Ronald W. Reagan
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:
As the Administration prepares the Fiscal Year 1984 Budget request for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, we urge that you allocate to this program funding levels which reflect the impact rising energy prices are having on the poor and the elderly.

Since 1978 the average electricity bill has increased by 65 percent, the average natural gas bill by 104 percent, and the average heating oil bill by 140 percent. This translates into a growing percentage of household income which must go for energy bills, particularly for the poor.

In 1978-79 the average direct residential energy expenditure by a poor household was 10.9 percent of disposable income; by 1980-81 this had risen to 13 percent. Under current law, estimates based on Energy Information Administration data indicate that this percentage will rise to 15 percent.

Witnesses at Congressional hearings estimated that to protect the poor against residential energy price increases since 1978 would require $3.75 billion in Fiscal Year 1984. The business sponsored Committee for Economic Development has estimated that $5 billion is a "sufficient approximation" of the level of need for this program. These figures do not take into account the high rate of unemployment which obviously increases the number of people eligible and therefore increases the need for funding.

For Fiscal Year 1982 the Administration requested $1.4 billion for this program. Congress concluded that $1.875 billion, although not sufficient, was the minimum appropriate figure. Your request for Fiscal Year 1983 was $1.3 billion. In real terms even the $1.875 billion annual rate contained in the Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 1983 reflects a decrease of 10.9% from Fiscal Year 1981. We believe funding for Low Income Energy Assistance must remain, at a minimum, at current services levels.

Additionally, in the long term sufficient funding for weatherization is essential to help reduce fuel assistance needs. The Congress has taken issue with your past proposal to eliminate funding for weatherization and has indicated that neither of these two important assistance programs should be used as an excuse to reduce or eliminate the other.

In 1979, during the debate on oil decontrol, there was a social compact made by a majority of Members of Congress to protect those persons least able to absorb energy price increases. In the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act the Congress determined that up to $3 billion of the revenues generated could be expended for low income energy assistance.

Your Fiscal Year 1984 request for Low Income Energy Assistance should reflect the urgent need of so many people. We all agree that there is a need for fiscal restraint but we believe that the people needing this program have borne more than their share of the sacrifices.


November 29, 1982

Dear Colleague:
We would like you to join us in signing the letter to the President (on the other side), urging adequate funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Since 1978 energy prices have nearly doubled. As a consequence, those people least able to absorb these increases -- our Nation's poor and low-income elderly -- have suffered. Some have had to make the choice between "heating and eating."

As the letter and the data below indicate, while energy prices have risen dramatically in recent years, energy assistance has declined in real terms. Fuel bills this winter will show further increases.

If you would like to join us in this letter, please call Donna Anaya at 6-2500 by December 8.

John D. Dingell
Philip R. Sharp
Richard L. Ottinger
Edward R. Roybal
Claude Pepper
Carl D. Perkins
Matthew J. Rinaldo
James M. Jeffords
Ike Andrews
Harold E. Ford

[Please see image for data]

Original Format

8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)


United States. Congress, “Copy Of Letter To Ronald Reagan Request For Funding For Low Income Energy Assistance Program,” Queens College Archives and Special Collections, accessed January 17, 2019,