Congress approves doubling of heating assistance

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The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that nearly doubles the amount of federal heating assistance Vermont could receive this winter.

Under the $5.1 billion home energy assistance provision approved Saturday, Vermont could get about $35 million to help low-income residents heat their homes, up from $17 million last winter.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says the provision was included in a sweeping spending bill and was modeled after one he and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced in June.

The final allotment to Vermont depends on how the president distributes the emergency funds included in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The legislation, which was sent to the president for his signature, also makes more families eligible for heating assistance.

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