Congress Expected To Cut Home Heating Aid By 25% This Winter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is poised to reduce federal home heating aid by about 25 percent this winter, a move that could impact thousands of poor and elderly families in New England.

The $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package lawmakers approved Friday included $3.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a cut of $1.2 billion from last year. The Senate is expected to pass the measure Saturday.

Vermont’s congressional delegation said the reduction was disappointing news, but the lawmakers vowed to fight for more money for the program when Congress reconvenes next month.

“The relentless budget battles in Washington are taking their toll on those who can least afford it,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch said in a joint statement.

Several Northeast states already have reduced heating aid benefits this winter.

Families in New England, where the winters are long and cold and people rely heavily on costly oil heat, are expected to be especially hard hit by the reductions.

Higher home heating oil prices and more families seeking aid due to the sour economy are straining resources. Boston officials have said there’s been an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of heat aid applicants this winter.

Families can expect to pay, on average, about $3,300 to heat a home with oil this winter in New England, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association. That’s about $500 more than last winter. About half of the region’s homes use oil heat, the group said.

In fall 2008, amid concerns about rising fuel prices, the government nearly doubled fuel assistance, releasing $5.1 billion to states for the following winter.

But last February, President Barack Obama proposed cutting the program nearly in half, calling for about $2.5 billion. The House decided to add about $1 billion to Obama’s budget request in passing its spending bill Friday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Joyce says:

    Well…I guess it’s freeze or starve this winter…take your pick.

  2. DAVE says:

    GREEDY SELF MOTIVATED DIRTBAGS!!!!! THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO PASS LARGE MILITARY BUDGETS BECAUSE MANY OF THEM ARE ASSOCIATED WITH IT AND ALSO DRAW SALARY FROM IT!!! THEY[mainly repubs] ALSO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO PROTECT THE WEALTHY AND CORP. AMERICA [everyone that contributes to their campaigns] BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THOSE IN NEED BUT CANT!! DO ANYTHING FOR THEM THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM MAKING CUTS!!!! HOW ABOUT PUTTING A STOP TO REFUGEES WHO WITH OUR GOVERNMENTS HELP CAN GET A $15,000.00 GOV. LOAN TO START A BUSINESS!! [all those once owned by u.s.citizen gas stations & small gas marts] and putting an end to the outrageous absurd least common sense law ever= the anchor baby law that costs the taxpayers billions every year!!! how about cutting back on the ever growing behemoth government and all its perks and pensions!!!! BUT NO THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE THEY WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING THAT EFFECTS THEM JUST THOSE THAT WERE PROMISED THAT IF THEY PAY IN TO SOCIAL SECURITY[ didn’t have a choice] THEY COULD COUNT ON THAT FOR RETIREMENT!! BUT INSTEAD THEY RAISE THE RETIREMENT AGE AND CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT ELIMINATING IT AND/OR MAKING BIG CUTS AND THIS WITH OUR GOV. HAVING STOLEN[ SORRY BORROWED 1 PLUS TRILLION FROM THE S.S. FUND FOR THEIR OWN PET PROJECTS AND NO MEANS AND PROBABLY NO PLANS OF PAYING IT BACK. EVEN THOUGH THAT MONEY BELONGS TO!!! THOSE SAME SENIORS THEY ARE DRIVING INTO POVERTY AND FORCING THEM TO TRY AND GO BACK TO WORK PRETTY MUCH TILL THEY DIE OTHERWISE THEY ARE FORCED TO MAKE DECIONS LIKE DO I HAVE HEAT, OR MEDS, OR FOOD!!!! IT IS EXTREMELY SAD HOW OUR COUNTRY TREATS OUR ELDERLY WHICH WHOM HAVE FOUGHT IN WARS AND HELPED BUILD THIS COUNTRY TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE ALL THOSE GREEDY PIGS BROUGHT IT TO ITS KNEES AND WHOM WILL NEVER SEE A DAY BEHIND BARS AND STILL HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO WANT FOR NOTHINGAND MANY OF THEM FUTURE GENERATIONS ARE SET ALSO!!!!! AND WORST OF ALL EVEN AFTER THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS THERE WILL STILL BE NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNELL AND THAT GLIMMER WE ARE ALL WAITING FOR WILL NEVER COME AS LONG AS THE CURRENT FORCE OF REPUBS STAYS IN OFFICE!!!!!

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