The Coastal Packet: Trump wants to kill heating aid that has helped 77,000 Mainers

Monday, July 3

Trump wants to kill heating aid that has helped 77,000 Mainers

Press - Herald - President Trump has proposed eliminating heating aid for low-income Americans, claiming it’s no longer necessary and rife with fraud. People needn’t worry about being left in the cold, he says, because utilities cannot cut off customers in the dead of winter.

But he is wrong on all counts.

The heating program provides a critical lifeline ... and officials close to the program don’t see any widespread fraud. Guidelines for winter shutoffs by utilities vary from state to state and don’t apply to heating oil, a key energy source in the brittle New England winter.

The proposal to kill the program, which has distributed $3.4 billion to about 6 million households this fiscal year, will face strong opposition in Congress.

In Maine, the poorest state in New England, the program helped nearly 77,000 people over the past winter, and those numbers represented less than a quarter of eligible households, said Deborah Turcotte of MaineHousing, which helps to run the program.

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