Editor’s note: This piece was originally published by CNN on January 4.
Low-income families struggle to pay their home energy bills in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Record cold temperatures are bearing down along the East Coast and across the Midwest, and, based on US Energy Information Administration estimates, the cost of home heating will likely exceed the cost of previous years.
If this isn’t bad enough, the federal government has reduced spending on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), its primary program to help poor families pay their home energy bills. Since 2010, the budget has been incrementally reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.4 billion, reducing the number of families that can be helped by more than 1.2 million families (out of approximately 7.3 million).
President Donald Trump initially proposed eliminating funding for energy assistance this year.
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