- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Senators from Maine and Rhode Island are leading a bipartisan group of lawmakers who want increased federal heating assistance for low-income families.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine and Jack Reed of Rhode Island say they and 40 other senators want President Barack Obama to provide at least $4.7 billion in Low Income House Energy Assistance Program dollars in fiscal 2016. Collins is a Republican, King an Independent and Reed a Democrat.

The 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill provides $3.39 billion in LIHEAP (LEYE’-heep) funding through Sept. 30, 2015. The senators say the money is enough to serve 20 percent of the eligible population, and that recipients have seen their average grants reduced since 2010. Reed says the funding is “not keeping up with demand.”

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