March 8th, 2011
04:57 PM ET
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) - Hours before President Obama was to fly to Boston to push his administration's education initiative, two congressmen from the president's own party held a press conference to protest the administration's proposed budget cuts to a program to help the poor afford heating oil.
Massachusetts congressmen Jim McGovern and Michael Capuano joined former Democratic congressman Joe Kennedy to criticize the administration's attempts to cut in half the $5.1 billion budget to fund LIHEAP, the low income energy assistance program.
McGovern said that while he has been a firm supporter of Obama, this was not a protest against the president but instead against the cuts.
"I appreciate his leadership on so many issues, but we need his leadership here," said McGovern, standing in front of the home of an elderly Boston couple who are struggling to pay their heating bills using LIHEAP assistance.Kennedy admonished the president by saying that simply because the Republicans won the election it "doesn't mean we drop our values and give the poor a cold shoulder."
When Obama submitted his budget last month he warned that there would be painful cuts including some to programs he supports.
He did allow that he might revisit cuts to LIHEAP if energy prices were to spike again. Both Democratic congressmen today said they had not spoken to the White House since the crisis in Libya caused oil prices to rise dramatically in the past two weeks.
McGovern and Capuano said they had not planned to stay for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser with Obama tonight in Boston, but instead were flying back to Washington for votes.