Getty Images - Sen Elizabeth Warren and 39 others urge Federal government to free up home heating Assistance funds.

U.S. senators from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are among a group of 40 calling on the federal government to release funds for a program that helps low-income people pay their heating bills.

    The bipartisan group of senators sent a joint letter urging U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to release funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program as quickly as possible to enable states and households to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

    The program helps eligible families and seniors pay for home heating and home weatherizing.

    The senators say the program has been an indispensable lifeline during challenging economic times, helping to ensure that beneficiaries do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for other necessities like food or medicine.  (Associated Press)