IN RUST BELT, TRUMP CUTS HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, CLAIMS RESULTS DON’T JUSTIFY THE EXPENDITURE

President Trump looked to the Rust Belt for the votes that got him elected, but the budget proposal he released early Thursday looks as if it would result in a massive movement of federal funds away from the region and toward states with a bigger military presence.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program — which helps heat the homes of nearly 100,000 families in Erie County, along with millions more across the Rust Belt — would be eliminated under Trump’s budget.

Trump’s spending plan certainly is a cut to “LIHEAP,” the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that millions of poor people in Northern states rely on for their wintertime heating.

Trump’s spending plan proposes to eliminate that program, saying: “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.”

But lawmakers from Northern states have consistently fought smaller cuts in the program in previous federal budgets — and have almost always won. Members of Congress from New York have often played key roles in those earlier fights, saying the program is essential to heating the homes of the state’s poorest residents.

Trump’s call to eliminate the program — if approved by Congress — would not take effect until next winter.

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