(Host) Senator Bernie Sanders is working to build a bi-partisan group to support additional funds for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program.
Last year, Vermont received roughly $23 million in LIHEAP funds. But the Obama Administration has proposed cutting the appropriation in half.
Sanders doesn’t think this is a partisan issue.
(Sanders)"I think you will have some Republicans from cold weather states who are saying you know what – it’s just not right that constituents in Maine or in other states go cold in the winter. We cannot be as a nation, hold ourselves with pride if you have old people having to choose between the prescription drugs that they need or staying warm in the winter or families with kids."
(Host) Sanders says his goal is to level fund the LIHEAP program for this year:
(Sanders)"The President came up with what I thought was a disastrous idea based on bad information by the way which called for a 50 percent reduction in LIHEAP funding so the Congress is doing better right now but the goal is to at least bring us to level funding of where we were last year and if we can do that I think we will prevent anyone in the state of Vermont from going cold which is the goal."
(Host) The state has received more than $40,000 applications for LIHEAP funds so far. That’s already more than last year.
Because prices are 30 percent higher than a year ago, it’s likely the average benefit will purchase considerably less heating fuel this winter.