WASHINGTON — Three New England senators are pushing a bill to prevent deep spending cuts in the federal home heating assistance program that they say could imperil thousands of poor and elderly people this winter.

Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Wednesday they want $4.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the same amount provided by the government to states last winter.

President Barack Obama has proposed cutting the program nearly in half, to about $2.5 billion, this winter.

For more on this story, go to the Press Herald’s “Maine on the Hill” blog by MaineToday Media’s Washington bureau chief Jonathan Riskind.