MAINE, USA — Members of Maine's congressional delegation are objecting to a plan that would take millions of dollars away from home heating assistance to help pay for the fight against coronavirus.
President Trump's $2.5 billion plan would move money from a number of accounts, including $37 million from the low-income home energy assistance program known as LIHEAP.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has joined other New England representatives in urging the house and senate appropriations committees to reject the plan.
Senator Susan Collins, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, said, "we are working with our colleagues to quickly pass a supplemental funding bill that will strengthen the government’s response to the public health threat posed by the coronavirus without reallocating funding from other key programs.”
Pingree adds that LIHEAP is already underfunded.
The program helped more than 30,000 Mainers heat their homes last winter.
Senator Angus King credits the administration for coming up with a plan but says taking LIHEAP dollars is a non-starter.
"It's a ridiculous proposal to take money away from people who need it for heat in the middle of a Maine winter to fight another disease," King said. "It just doesn't make sense and it's unsustainable. I don't think Congress is going to put up with it."
If you or someone you know needs heating assistance, call 1-800-452-4668 or go to https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1558 for help.