“Weatherizing homes is one of the most important investments families can make to lower heating and cooling costs, particularly in the Northeast,” Lowey said in a statement Tuesday. “As temperatures drop and extreme weather becomes more common, it is critical that the federal government does its part to help families in New York and nationwide keep their homes comfortable and save money on energy costs.”  

Gillibrand added that because families in the Northeast are already struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy, additional help to pay for energy costs is even more urgently needed.

“With winter here and temperatures plummeting, that means higher energy costs for families and businesses,” Gillibrand said. “During these tough economic times, and in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, many New Yorkers simply cannot afford this added strain on their budgets — especially since New Yorkers already pay more than the national average for energy costs. Weatherization programs help save families hundreds on energy costs while supporting local construction, small businesses and manufacturing jobs.”

Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast hard in October; thousands have lost their homes and businesses. Last week, Congress passed a $9.7 billion emergency-spending bill for victims of the storm, and the House is expected to vote on another $50 billion worth of spending when it returns to work next week.

Increasing funding for the WAP and SEP is not part of the emergency-spending package, but the lawmakers also want increased funding for those programs to help their state.

“Members of both political parties can support common-sense conservation and energy efficiency to make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy and save upstate families much-needed dollars,” Hanna said.