Obama's Next Budget Cut: Heating Aid for Poor

Move likely to draw sharp opposition from Democrats
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2011 12:05 PM CST
A woman shovels snow in this file photo.   (AP Photo/The Tulsa World, Mike Simons)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal will include a drastic cut in a program that gives heating assistance to poor people, officials tell the National Journal. The move is likely to draw sharp opposition from Obama’s own party; earlier today, Chuck Schumer called a similar Republican proposal “extreme,” and already John Kerry and Jeanne Shaheen have come out against the idea.“We simply cannot afford to cut LIHEAP funding during one of the most brutal winters in history,” said Kerry.

Critics call LIHEAP, which stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a subsidy for energy companies. But advocates say the program is actually underfunded, since more Americans are using it than ever. Obama’s budget would slice $2.5 billion off the $5.1 billion program, which merely returns it to levels near those of the Clinton administration, say administration officials. But one official added, "A lot of people in the Northeast are not going to be happy."

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