Recent Press Releases

Senator John Thune made the following statement today regarding the Senate Democrats’ filibuster against expanding oil production in Alaska, which would provide long-term funding for LIHEAP, as well as $2 billion for immediate LIHEAP funding:

"Senate Democrats are obstructing an effort to pass legislation that provides America a chance to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. This bill would not only open ANWR for oil exploration and drilling, but it would also provide a long-term funding stream for LIHEAP," said Thune. "With energy costs at an all-time high and families going cold because of the high cost of home heating oil, it is inexcusable for the Senate Democrats to play politics with this issue."

In addition to providing vital funding for our troops and opening ANWR, the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations bill also provides $2 billion for LIHEAP. The bill includes a provision to allow lease sales to produce 10.4 billion barrels of oil from the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and direct 5% of revenues from ANWR to provide the long-term funding for LIHEAP.

"This winter’s freezing temperatures are putting an enormous strain on families and current LIHEAP funds, so it is irresponsible for Senate Democrats to obstruct an issue as important as this," said Thune. "By choosing to filibuster this needed legislation, Senate Democrats are leaving South Dakota’s low income families out in the cold. I urge my Senate colleagues to put cold and freezing families ahead of protests and politics."

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).