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Sen. Kerry urges Obama seek $5.1B for heating aid

October 13, 2011

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BOSTON—U.S. Sen. John Kerry is urging President Barack Obama to push for $5.1 billion for a federal home heating aid program which he said helps struggling families, including those in Massachusetts, survive long winters.

In a letter to Obama Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat pointed to what he called "alarming projections about the cost of home heating oil in New England this coming winter."

Kerry said the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has been hit with budget cuts in recent years even as national demand for help has grown.

Kerry said there are more than 880,000 households in Massachusetts that use home heating oil during the winter.

He said rising prices could force the average Massachusetts family to pay nearly $200 more this winter than last to heat their homes, forcing many to seek federal assistance.