WASHINGTON (AP) — With Congress expected to gut a federal home heating aid program and fall just beginning, New England states are preparing to reduce benefits or the number of households receiving help.
State officials say they may be forced this winter to gut the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides heating and cooling subsidies nationwide.
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Congress, wrestling with record deficits and facing strong pressure to slash spending in its drawn-out budget battle, is expected to scale back the program for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, possibly cutting spending by as much as half.
Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association says most states are planning deep cuts.
With its cold winters and heavy reliance on costly oil heat, New England is particularly vulnerable to high energy costs.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)