U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says he's urging the president to boost funding for a program that helps low-income families and seniors pay their winter heating bills.
The Rhode Island Democrat and Maine's U.S. Sen. Susan Collins are leading a group of 43 senators trying to get more funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In a letter to President Barack Obama they said no less than $4.7 billion should be available for it in the fiscal 2016 budget.
Congress provided $3.39 billion in heating assistance for the 2015 fiscal year.
Reed says the program serves 20 percent of the eligible population at the current funding level and average grants dropped by nearly $100 since 2010, to $424.
He says about 34,000 Rhode Islanders used the program last year.