Northeast members press for stability to heating oil program

"We've seen cuts to this program, and the results have been devastating. Even when LIHEAP was fully funded in 2010, we still had Mainers go without assistance," Michaud said. "We need to ensure that states like Maine that continually face high home heating oil costs are made a priority.

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"I'm hopeful we can move this bipartisan bill forward in the lame duck session after the election."

Michaud noted that Obama's proposal to cut LIHEAP is based in part on an assessment that home heating costs for natural gas and electricity have fallen. Under Michaud's bill, any deeper cuts to the LIHEAP program would not effect states with a significant population that uses home heating oil. Instead, the cuts would affect states that use gas and electricity.

Michaud said home heating oil prices have jumped by nearly 30 percent in the last two years, and that users of oil spent nearly $2,400 to heat their homes. Michaud argues LIHEAP cuts should be directed to other states that rely more on gas and electricity, where costs are just a fraction of the cost of oil.

Michaud's bill, H.R. 6533, is sponsored by several Republicans and Democrats from Northeastern states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.