It's going to be a cold winter for many across the nation.
Congress and the White House have cut heating assistance to nearly 1 million homes in the Low Income House Energy Assistance Program. The program, which provides families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty line, or 60 percent of a state's median income, will be reduced in funding by 25 percent. Most households receive an average of $417 a month for heating expenses.
LIHEAP reached nearly 9 million households in 2011, and at least one member of each family who applied for the subsidy was older than 60, younger than 18 or disabled.
A gallon of heating oil costs $3.83 and is at the highest its been since 1990.
National Energy Assistance Directors Association Director Mark Wolfe said that this cut will lead to a very tough winter for many families. "We'll really see the problems next month," Wolfe told the Huffington Post. "We've never gone into the winter before with heating oils this high."
A few members of Congress battled the cuts in this bill. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urged the White House to set funding at $4.7 billion for his forthcoming 2013 budget proposal. The senators wrote a letter to the president that included the following:
Even though the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance, this funding has been a lifeline during the economic downturn and rising energy costs, helping to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine."
The cut in funding in this legislation is just another example of the have-nots being shafted by the government.
Read more at the Huffington Post.