U-S Representative Dan Benishek has joined a growing chorus of officials asking the House Appropriations Committee to provide more money to help low-income homeowners pay their heating bills next winter. Funding is provided through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP provided 3.5-billion dollars in assistance to families across the nation this winter… including 620-thousand families in Michigan. President Obama has slashed funding for the program by more than 30 percent since 2010… and has recommended an additional 20 percent cut for next year. Three weeks ago, mayors from 18 major cities signed a letter asking that funding be increased back to near the 2010 level. Benishek says that… given the cold weather and high fuel prices Northern Michigan residents faced this year… this is not the time to be reducing home heating assistance even further.