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Kerry's letter to Obama on energy cuts

February 9, 2011

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20502

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the potential for extreme cuts in the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that - judging by today's news reports - may be included in the administration's budget request for Fiscal Year 2012.

I understand that difficult cuts have to be made, and from Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction to the 1993 deficit reduction act I've always supported serious efforts to restore fiscal sanity, 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.

We simply cannot afford to cut LIHEAP funding during one of the most brutal winters in history. Families across Massachusetts, and the country, depend on these monies to heat their homes and survive the season. It is estimated that over 3 million families that qualify for heating assistance would not receive it if the funding levels are not maintained. Compounding the situation is the increased cost of home heating oil, which is roughly 12 percent higher than last year.

LIHEAP is already strained as it is - I have submitted requests for that last several years to increase the overall funding because the assistance didn't match the need. Cutting the program now would be devastating to the Northeast that depends on this support. If an increase is not an option we must do everything we can not to leave children and families out in the cold.

I again request that you maintain level funding at $5.1 billion for the LIHEAP program and provide vital heating assistance this winter. Thank you for your consideration.


John F. Kerry

By Greg Sargent  | February 10, 2011; 7:32 AM ET
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