(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) released the following statement in response to reports that President Obama will propose a $3 billion cut to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program in his 2012 budget. The program provides federal assistance to low income families to help them cope with high heating or cooling costs for their home.
"The President's reported proposal to drastically slash LIHEAP funds by more than half would have a severe impact on many of New Hampshire's most vulnerable citizens and I strongly oppose it. I understand and support efforts to reduce the deficit, but we should be looking at comprehensive tax reform and mismanaged programs, not slashing a safety-net program vital to many elderly and low-income families. Current LIHEAP funding is only enough to help about 35 percent of the poor families eligible in New Hampshire. This proposed reduction would take away heating assistance from over 10,000 families in our state. In the middle of a winter in which we've seen brutal cold and repeated blizzards, enough to prompt the President to release emergency LIHEAP funds, it should be more clear than ever that cutting this funding in half does not make sense."