Feb 09 2011

The Economic Crisis: Whose Side is Obama On?

This is mind bending. Faced with rising heating prices of oil and natural gas, the President wants to cut energy assistance for the poor by cutting $3 billion from LIHEAP funding. But, heaven forbid, we should cut from the sacred cow of defense spending or Homeland Security, or end the Bush tax cuts black holes of the budget deficit.

How many people, if any, might actually lose the assistance is difficult to determine. Officials were quick to point out that LIHEAP spending has grown significantly over the past several years as the government tried to keep up with rising gas prices. In 2008, the government spent $2.8 billion on LIHEAP. In 2009, thanks to the Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus bill, the figure jumped to $8.1 billion. So the cut from that high level restores LIHEAP to something close to where it was before Obama took office. Other circumstances, such as the weather and fuel prices, could effect the distribution of benefits.

Still, despite the uncertainties surrounding the proposed cut, it is dramatic. LIHEAP has been semi-sacred for most Democrats and many Republicans–a program that carries an emotional resonance as it was designed to keep poor people, particularly older poor people, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. “A lot of people in the Northeast are going to be unhappy,” an administration official briefed on the budget said.

This is what’s happening around the country;

N.H. gets additional $14m in heating aid; Maine to get another $23m

ROCHESTER – Thanks to help from the federal government, potentially thousands of New Hampshire and Maine households won’t be left out in the cold this winter.

On Tuesday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced the Granite State will receive an additional $13,924,612 in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides heating aid to households in need.

According to a release from Shaheen, the funds are in addition to the $19,767,875 HHS has already released to the state as of Dec. 10, and bring New Hampshire’s Fiscal Year 2011 total through March 4 to $33,692,487 – nearly equal to the total it received during the same period last year.

Community Advocates, Entergy Employees Seek Sustained Funding to Help Low-Income Customers in Need Pay Energy Costs

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 7, 2011 PRNewswire — Entergy Corporation employees and advocates for low-income residents are in Washington, D.C., this week to ask Congress for funding to help low-income families, the elderly and the disabled pay energy costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

On Feb. 9, Entergy employees and nonprofit group representatives will be among more than 140 advocates from across the country participating in the National Fuel Funds Network’s Washington Action Day for LIHEAP. Entergy employees are there as part of their ongoing commitment to help low-income customers. LIHEAP is America’s primary tool to help working-poor families pay for home energy costs, especially those families with preschoolers, elderly or disabled members.

Frigid winter weather forces poor to choose heat or rent

Poor face crunch as utility bills soar when temperatures plunge

A mother had her electricity cut off this week even as more snow and cold headed for Nashville.

The working woman had the choice, “pay the rent or pay the utility bill,” after she got behind with a large December power bill, said Tanya Gray of the Martha O’Bryan Center, where the woman sought help Wednesday.

Colder-than-normal temperatures last month and in January have sent utility bills spiraling up.

Local agency will be able to help poor heat their homes after all

An organization will be able to continue to help low-income families stay warm in the winter after all.

One week ago Mid Michigan Community Action got a letter notifying it would lose more than $500,000 in funding.  The state said it was taking the money back effective January 31, 2011 because the federal government cut funding to the state’s low income energy assistance program or LIHEAP.


Then, late Monday the state notified Mid Michigan Community Action it would not be reclaiming the funding after all.  The federal government reinstated funding after many voiced concerns such cuts could be deadly.

This President keeps trampling on those who can least afford it and his supporters will make excuses for him. This isn’t the way create jobs or solve the budget problems. Disgusting

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