In a rare weekend session, the Senate is scheduled to vote Saturday on whether to proceed to a bill by Senator Bernie Sanders to strengthen a program that helps thousands of senior citizens on fixed incomes pay soaring home energy bills. With skyrocketing fuel prices and a battered economy, this historically successful program, which also helps the disabled and working families, is falling far short of meeting current needs. The funding should be doubled so no one in our country freezes to death in the winter or dies from heat exhaustion. The threat is no exaggeration. "Historically, from 1979 to 2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States. During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "During 1979 to 2002, a total of 16,555 deaths in the United States, an average of 689 per year…were attributed to exposure to excessive natural cold."
Saturday's Senate vote is on whether to end a filibuster and begin formal consideration of the bill. It takes 60 votes. There are 53 Senate cosponsors including Senator Patrick Leahy. Congressman Peter Welch introduced a companion measure in the House.
To learn more about the bill, click here.
To take our poll on home energy, click here.