Thursday December 15, 2011 | 04:08 PM

A federal home heating program that aids thousands of low-income Mainers is still facing a major cut as part of a planned year-end spending bill, says Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program would get $3.5 billion in the catch-all 2012 spending bill congressional leaders are trying to finalize ahead of Friday night, when a temporary bill funding much of the federal government expires.

That's more than the $2.57 billion President Obama requested for the program, but far less than the $4.7 billion it received last winter, Snowe said. It means that Maine would receive about $40 million for the winter heating season, compared to about $56.5 million last winter.

Last winter, about 63,500 Maine households, with an average income of $16,300, got LIHEAP benefits averaging $804 over the winter heating season, according to MaineHousing, which oversees the program for the state.

But Snowe noted that the Obama administration had so far released just $1.7 billion for the program, which put Maine in line for less than $24 million if no more money was approved. The House initially supported $3.4 billion for LIHEAP this winter and the Senate $3.6 billion. so the final figure splits that difference.

But Snowe says she and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will keep fighting for legislation they introduced requiring Congress to give LIHEAP the same $4.7 billion this winter that the program received last winter.

An increase above the $2,57 billion Obama requested is a step in the right direction, but "funding the program at $3.5 billion is disappointing and remains a massive cut," Snowe said in a statement this afternoon.


About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.