Senior National Editor
Gusts of hot air from visiting presidential hopefuls are not enough to ease the chill for many in Iowa and New Hampshire and heat from that other thermal source, Washington, D.C., won’t go as far this winter to aid those from New England to the Southwest who need help to keep their homes warm.
Washington is throwing fewer logs – in the form of taxpayer dollars – on the fire this winter. In budget year 2011, the federal government distributed $4.7 billion to states through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Obama administration wanted a 2012 budget that reduced LIHEAP funding to nearly $2.6 billion (a return to levels before a 2009 energy price spike), but Congress opted for $3.5 billion in the massive government spending bill the House and Senate recently passed and which has been sent to the White House for the President’s signature.
The situation is enough to scare even author Stephen King.
Speaker John Boehner and House GOP negotiators urged Democrats to restart talks on extending the payroll tax cut Wednesday. There's been little progress in resolving a partisan standoff that now threatens to erode the paychecks of 160 million Americans. The average paycheck will shrink $40 if Congress doesnt act, and right now, members of Congress are on their end-of-the-year holiday. Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth of New York talks to Brooke about why she's staying put in Washington to help fight for a solution.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux talks to an Iraq veteran whose home was saved from foreclosure by Occupy Atlanta.