Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune made the following statement today regarding the Senate Democrats' filibuster that resulted in $2 billion in LIHEAP funding being removed from a spending bill:

"Today's action by the Senate Democrats will deprive South Dakota's neediest from crucial emergency heating funds. This winter's freezing temperatures have put an enormous strain on current LIHEAP funds while some families across South Dakota are already struggling to heat their homes. It's unfortunate that a minority of Senators sided with special interests and cast their votes at the expense of families that are without heat.

"The Senate Democrats chose to filibuster the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill because it included a provision to open ANWR for oil exploration and drilling. The legislation would have also taken revenues from ANWR and directed them towards other programs, including LIHEAP. Because the Senate Democrats' filibuster forced the Senate Leadership to strip out all the ANWR provisions, $2 billion in additional LIHEAP funding was blocked.

"Today's action by Senate Democrats has left South Dakota's low income families out in the cold."

Senator Thune has voted several times in support of LIHEAP funding to ensure that South Dakota's low income families are kept warm this winter:

  • On October 26, Senator Thune voted for Senate Amendment 2253 to House Resolution 3010 of the Labor HHS Appropriations Bill, which would have added $1.27 billion to LIHEAP. This would have increased total funding to almost $3.5 billion.

  • On November 17, Senator Thune voted in favor of Senate Amendment 2626 to Senate Resolution 2020 the Tax Relief Act of 2005, which would have imposed a temporary one-year windfall profits tax on crude oil and used the proceeds of the tax collected to fund programs under LIHEAP, increasing LIHEAP funding by an estimated $2.92 billion for a total of $5 billion.

  • On November 18th, Senator Thune voted to instruct the conferees to the Labor H Appropriations Bill to designate the $2.1 billion for LIHEAP as emergency funding.

  • On December 15th, Senator Thune voted to instruct conferees to the Deficit Reduction Act to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at the fully authorized level of $5.1 billion (an increase of $2.92 billion).

  • On December 21st, Senator John Thune voted against a concurrent resolution that stripped from the conference agreement to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2006, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) drilling provision and the $2 billion in emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).