January 24, 2024

Wyden, Merkley Join Call for Restored Low-Income Water Assistance

Washington, D.C. – Oregon U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they have joined Senate colleagues in calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore funding for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) for Fiscal Year 2024. The crucial funding that expired at the end of FY23 gave assistance to low-income families, Tribes, and urban communities with water and wastewater bills.

“Water and sewer bills are rising more than twice as quickly as inflation and increasing faster than energy bills, medical expenses, and household incomes,” wrote the Senators. “… The need for low-income household water assistance is just as important to public health and economic development as other basic needs such as home energy and nutrition, which have benefitted from Federal support for decades.

“As Congress works towards authorizing a permanent water assistance program to safeguard water affordability, we urge the Committee to provide continued funding for LIHWAP so that we may continue to provide critical water assistance to our most vulnerable children and families and ensure that those who need the help in paying their water bills are able to do so,” continued the Senators.

The letter was led by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was also signed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Full text of the letter is here.