Northeast Lawmakers Express Concern over Obama’s Heat Aid Cuts 

Lawmakers from the Northeast are crying foul over President Barack Obama’s proposal to cut nearly in half a $5.1 billion home heating aid program for the poor. Obama said Tuesday the cuts are painful but necessary to help reduce the budget deficit. Some of Obama’s key democratic allies from the region say the cuts could imperil more than 3 million families during one of theharshest winters in years. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry complained in a letter to Obama that his proposed cuts to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program could be devastating to the poor and elderly Democratic Mass. Rep. Edward Markey says the budget should not be balanced on the backs of the poor families. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association says the number of households needing help paying energy bills is expected to hit a record high this year for the third straight year. (AP)