Christine Stuart photo

Three Republican State Senators capitalized on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Hartford Friday by calling on her to break the partisan gridlock in Washington and pass federal low-income heating assistance for Connecticut residents.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said in a phone interview Friday that the bulk of Connecticut’s Energy Assistance Program is funded through the federal LIHEAP grant and with winter right around the corner “the time to act is now.”

The program helps low-income residents keep their homes warm in the winter. Connecticut expects to receive $41 million in federal funding for the program.

LIHEAP “is a very, very important initiative for us,” Pelosi said Friday at press conference in Hartford.  She said the federal heating assistance program is part of an energy bill she introduced earlier this week.

In Pelosi’s bill the American taxpayer no longer subsidizes Big Oil, allows it to drill on the outer continental shelf and uses the royalties to fund programs like LIHEAP.

“Why are they making record profits and the taxpayers are subsidizing them? This is a rip,” Pelosi said Friday.

“Do you want to drill now on the continental shelf?  We want our royalties.  No more subsidies for you.  We want those subsidies and those royalties for LIHEAP, for renewable energy resources, for a better energy future for our country,” Pelosi said earlier this week when she unveiled her energy bill.

McKinney said he wants Congress to pass the bipartisan bill put together by U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, R-Bridgeport, and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont. He said the bill would double the LIHEAP funding available not only to Connecticut, but the rest of the nation.

The press conference Friday ended before any follow up questions could be asked of Speaker Pelosi, so it’s unknown whether she would support Shays’ bill. However, it should be noted that Pelosi will be in Stamford Saturday stumping for Shays’ opponent, Jim Himes.

Click here to read the letter McKinney, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Rob Russo sent to Speaker Pelosi.