Bush Nearly Doubles Home Heating Aid to States

The Bush administration is releasing $5.1 billion in fuel assistance, nearly doubling federal money to help poor people cope with high home heating bills expected this winter.

Despite oil price drops in recent months, lawmakers from cold weather states said Thursday that high energy prices and the slumping economy are leaving many families struggling to pay to keep warm.

The increased fuel aid was included in a stopgap budget bill that Congress passed and President Bush signed last month.

About 2 million more families are expected to get fuel aid this winter. About 5.8 million families got help last winter.