Lott on Low-Income Heating Pleas: "I thought we were having global warming."

  • Bob Geiger's picture
    Bob Geiger
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How cruel and indifferent is Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi?

With a bipartisan alliance that included Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed and moderate Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine arguing passionately in favor of badly-needed emergency funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Lott took to the microphone to give his take on providing warm homes to the elderly and disabled.

“What is it we are not going to give people for free? Is there any limit? Is there any limit to the amount of money?” asked Lott, adding snidely “I thought we were having global warming.

The occasion was Senate debate and a roll call vote last week on $1 billion in funding for LIHEAP, which has been woefully under-funded since falling under the knife of Bush-administration budget cuts. LIHEAP was authorized by Congress to receive $5.1 billion in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but only $2.2 billion was appropriated in fiscal year 2006 thanks to the president’s Deficit Reduction Act.

Despite soaring energy prices that have placed already-struggling people in even more trouble this winter, Team Bush decided in December that it was more important to give more tax cuts to the wealthy than to fund home heating for the poor.

Not to be outdone by Lott’s callousness, Republican John Ensign of Nevada, whined about the dangers of increasing the deficit by heating the homes of the elderly, despite having voted for every budget-busting tax cut placed before the Senate.

“There are those of us who believe that deficits are real. They are absolutely real,” said Ensign. “People get up and talk about them all the time. But when it comes right down to whether you are willing to make tough choices instead of just increasing the spending and passing that debt on to the next generation, they aren't willing to offer other spending cuts so that we are not increasing the deficit.”

Fortunately, warmer hearts prevailed and the Snowe-sponsored legislation (S. 2320) passed Thursday by a vote of 66-31, with most Republicans voting against it.

“The current low-income fuel assistance program has not had an increase in real dollar terms since 1983,” said Snowe, who has voted with the Democrats on every previous attempt to fund the program. “Let there be no mistake about the fact that this program is vital. It is significant. It is essential to so many of the families in my State and across the country. The urgency of this legislation has escalated to an emergency.”

Snowe’s colleague from Maine, Republican Susan Collins, supported the legislation in more real-life terms.

“I want my colleagues to understand exactly what is at stake here,” said Collins. “Early Tuesday morning, my State suffered a terrible tragedy--three people, including a woman and her 10-year-old son, died when their house caught fire and burned to the ground. There was the most deadly fire in Maine in 6 years. They lived in Limestone, ME, a town in northern Maine. On the night of the fire, temperatures were below zero. The family had run out of heating oil, and as a result, was using wood stoves to provide the heat. According to the firefighters, the fire started near one of the wood stoves in the kitchen. This is literally a matter of life and death.”

Jack Reed and Democrat John Kerry tried on many occasions in 2005 to pass more ambitious LIHEAP funding measures – for $3.1 billion and $2.9 billion – but were shot down each time by the GOP. While the measure passed last week must still go to the House for approval, it appears that having Republican sponsorship and a much lower price tag might allow some help to get to the needy before winter ends.

Said Reed in a powerful argument for the bill’s passage: “We have a chance to help people, a last chance to help people this year who are literally freezing. It we do not take it, shame on us.”

More of Bob Geiger's work can be found at BobGeiger.com

Comments

Withhold Lott's paycheck

for about six months and then we'll see if Mr. Have understands the Have Nots. It's not like he'll freeze. According to him, there is global warming...

I'm tired of my tax money going toward someone like Lott's heating bill, when there are people out there who need help. I think Lott needs to get an honest job.

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Lott's Not (smart)

  • Rod Brock's picture
    Rod Brock
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"What is it we are not going to give people for free? Is there any limit? Is there any limit to the amount of money?" asked Lott, adding snidely "I thought we were having global warming."

When you have a scientific education like I do, and you hear this kind of brain-vomit spilling out of Lott's mouth, you can only shake your head. Such a big, important man, such posturing, such a wit[less]. Does he realize that to those in the know, statements like this make him sound like a moron?

Wait. He is a moron.

Furthermore, CBS news just ran a report this evening strongly suggesting that the soaring natural gas bills people are now paying really are artificially inflated. Just good, old-fashioned price gouging. The report also noted that we shouldn't expect this to change any time soon, because commodity trading in energy is "less regulated" than in other areas.

I wonder how that happened?

Multiple whammy on you, Lott. People really are freezing, and they really are being gouged by the energy companies, and the responsibility for that lies with the GOP's continual emphasis on deregulation (i.e., filthy lucre). As for global warming, that really is happening, too, and your sarcasm only betrays your pathetic ignorance (and your boss' ignorance - can you say "Kyoto Accords?")

In conclusion, Mr. Lott, may you burn* in some hell of your own devising, even as we freeze. You too, Mr. Ensign. And your boss.

RDB/ENDIT

*Or freeze. One possible Buddhist hell that comes to mind is the "Hell of the Crimson Lotus." This is a hell of such intense cold that one's back bursts open and the crimson flesh blossoms out like some macabre flower. As with all Buddhist Hells, such a place serves a means to attain enlightenment, albeit the hard way, when easier ways have failed.
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"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."