Republican Senator Scott Brown has joined his Democratic counterpart John F. Kerry in opposing plans to cut by half home fuel aid to struggling Americans next winter.
In his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, President Obama is reportedly calling for a $2.5 billion cut in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which has helped nearly a quarter million households in Massachusetts this year.
Such a cut is unconscionable, Brown said.
"I can point to countless items in the president's budget that should be cut before LIHEAP funding. With Massachusetts residents getting pounded by brutal winter storms, cutting LIHEAP funding is a non-starter for me,"’ Brown said in a statement today to the Statehouse News Service.
Yesterday, Kerry wrote a letter to the president, calling on him to keep funding at its current level of $5.1 billion.
"I’ve always supported serious efforts to restore fiscal sanity, but in the middle of a brutal, even historic, New England winter, home heating assistance is more critical than ever to the health and welfare of millions of Americans, especially senior citizens,"’ Kerry wrote.
Representative Edward Markey, Democrat of Malden, called on the House Appropriations Committee to resist paring the program.
"Cutting funding for LIHEAP so dramatically would have a devastating impact on millions of American families already suffering from the economic downturn," he said in a letter today.
Markey has been battling House Republicans who are considering immediate cuts to the program this winter, as part of their effort to slice $100 billion from President Obama's spending requests.
"It takes a frigid heart for Republicans to continue to defend tax breaks for oil and gas companies, while putting heating fuel assistance for America’s neediest on the chopping block," Markey said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.