The Bush Administration has proposed $379 million in funding cuts for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides subsidized heat to poor families. The program is already under-funded, and now the president wants to slash it even more.
Bush pathetically released this proposal late in the day on a Friday, and in the media uproar surrounding his presidential veto to expand SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program), the LIHEAP cuts have received virtually no attention.
Pulling the plug on heat for millions of poor households must not happen. There are only greedy and mean-spirited reasons for the president and his cronies to push these cuts through.
Senator John Kerry is dead on when he warns:
"There are no excuses for inaction. Just as the Army Corps of Engineers warned about the levees in New Orleans before Katrina struck, now the Energy Information Administration is warning us about hikes in heating prices and drops in temperature."
Are our neighbors going to freeze this winter? The president is all for it, as long as he can save the oil industry a few dollars.
Someone with power has to stop this madness, or severe and needless punishment else will come to poor, marginalized citizens, out of sight and out of mind to the vicious power-brokers in Washington. Who, like John Kerry, will step up for vulnerable Americans before they are forced to freeze? This is not a political issue; it's a moral one.
Dan Brown is the author of the inner-city teacher memoir, "The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle." He will be reading from and discussing his book at the Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, MA on Saturday, November 3, at 7 p.m.