Obama To Cut Energy Assistance For Poor; Kerry Urges Him To Reconsider

Maybe if liberals and progressives had gotten behind Kerry in 2004 we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today and wouldn’t be stuck with Obama, the DINO

By   Sam Stein

February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON — Reports that President Barack Obama’s upcoming budget will propose steep cuts in the government’s energy assistance fund for low-income Americans ricocheted quickly on Capitol Hill Wednesday, spurring some intraparty squabbling.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) wrote a letter to Obama asking him not to drop funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by about $3 billion.

“I understand that difficult cuts have to be made,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote. “But in the middle of a brutal, even historic, New England winter, home heating assistance is more critical than ever to the health and welfare of millions of Americans, especially senior citizens. I request that the administration preserve LIHEAP funding at least to the Fiscal Year 2010 funding at $5.1 billion when it submits its FY12 budget proposal to Congress.”

The cuts, which were first reported by National Journal, appear to cut against the grain of previous administration policy. In 2010, Obama’s omnibus budget resolution assigned roughly $5 billion in LIHEAP grants for 2011. The rationale was that at a time of acute economic crisis and rising commodity prices, a little federal assistance to those in need was politically defensible.

With that in mind, the proposed cuts offered the appearance of a president abandoning principle in hopes of winning fiscal conservative plaudits. A source familiar with the budget process, however, offered several clarifications to Wednesday’s report. The cut, the source said, would be $2.5 billion in LIHEAP funding, not $3 billion. The proposed appropriation level will be $2.57 billion, which mirrors the Fiscal Year 2008 appropriation, not $2.8 billion.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/09/obama-poor-energy-cuts-kerry-letter_n_821061.html

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