Obama cuts to heating assistance budget again provoke bipartisan opposition

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Wednesday will release a new bill to keep heating assistance at least current levels.

In the Senate, members on both sides of the aisle are vowing to take steps to prevent further cuts.

“I am concerned that President Obama follows in the footsteps of past presidents by proposing deep cuts in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  For thousands of hard-pressed families in Vermont, LIHEAP is not a luxury but a survival tool,” Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement.

“Last year, the Administration proposed cutting LIHEAP funding by nearly half.  While Congress worked to restore as much of this funding as possible, we have seen how dangerous it is for senior citizens and low-income families when this program is not sufficiently funded, ” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) said in a statement

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) said the proposed Obama cuts are an "insult to injury" for those dealing with $100 per barrel oil.

"By the White House’s own numbers this would result in a cut to Maine assistance of more than $20 million from last winter’s levels, or 40 percent, at a time when Mainers are taking desperate measures to avoid the bitter cold.  While the administration has woken up and abandoned their initiative to completely unravel LIHEAP, the budget should have heeded my request and reflected the dangerous state of thousands of Mainers and prioritized this critical program,” she said. 

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) also opposed to the cuts, an aide said.