Welch leads bi­par­ti­san group of 103 law­mak­ers urg­ing Obama to in­crease heat­ing as­sis­tance fund­ing in 2013 bud­get

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Washington, DC

Leadinga bi­par­ti­san group of 103 House mem­bers, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT.) to­day called on Pres­i­dent Obama to fully fund the Low In­come Home En­ergy As­sis­tance Pro­gram (LIHEAP) in his FY2013 bud­get. The Pres­i­dent is ex­pected to un­veil his bud­get in the com­ing weeks.

In a let­ter to the Pres­i­dent, Welch and his col­leagues are urg­ing him to re­quest at least $4.7 bil­lion in LIHEAP fund­ing, the level the pro­gram was funded at in FY2011. Fund­ing for LIHEAP in FY2012 was cut by 24 per­cent to $3.47 bil­lion na­tion­wide. Ver­mont has re­ceived $19.5 mil­lion in LIHEAP fund­ing thus far in FY2012, down from $26 mil­lion in FY2011.

Welch – along with Sens. Pa­trick Leahy (D-VT.) and Bernie San­ders (I-VT.) – are cospon­sors of leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide ad­di­tional FY2012 fund­ing for LIHEAP to at least match last year’s to­tal.

“LIHEAP is a crit­i­cal life­line for Ver­mon­ters in need,” Welch said. “With a tough econ­omy and ris­ing fuel costs, even keep­ing the fund­ing level sta­ble rep­re­sents a cut to Ver­mon­ters strug­gling to hang on. As we work to reign in the fed­eral debt, we should not do so on the backs of those who can least af­ford it.”

Lead­ing the ef­fort with Welch are Reps. Ed Markey (D-mass.), Lou Bar­letta (R-PA.), James Mcgovern (D-mass.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), John Lar­son (D-CT.) and Jim Ger­lach (R-PA.).

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