The spending-averse tea party helped elect Scott Brown but the Massachusetts senator has found one piece of government spending he’s now defending.
Brown joined his counterpart John Kerry, D-Mass., late Thursday when he criticized the president for a proposed cut to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. "I can point to countless items in the president's budget that should be cut before LIHEAP funding. With Massachusetts residents getting pounded by brutal winter storms, cutting LIHEAP funding is a non-starter for me,"’ he said in a statement to the Massachusetts Statehouse News Service.
National Journal first reported the proposal Wednesday, and Kerry came out against it almost immediately, saying the U.S. can’t afford to cut a program that assists so many families. He said President Obama should leave the program intact with its $5.1 billion in funding.
Obama’s proposal has come under fire from a number of the state’s legislators. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., dean of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, issued his own statement denouncing the cuts.
The Taunton Gazette reported that Massachusetts has received $181.7 million in federal LIHEAP funding and anticipates more than 216,000 individuals and families will qualify for help this year, nearly 10,000 more than received funding last year.
Brown pulled off a surprise 54-43 percent victory during the 2010 special election that brought him to the Senate. At the time, 85 percent of his campaign funds came from outside the state – much of it from outside groups affiliated with the tea party. He has $7 million in his campaign war chest already for the 2012 election and already faces calls for a primary challenge if dissatisfaction with his record persists.