REPORTER: This is one issue that hits politicians the same way it hits their constituents. New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett got the bad news when his oil delivery man called him on the phone a few weeks ago.
GARRETT: It will be up an increase of over $100 per month to heat the house.
REPORTER: The Republican from northern New Jersey's Fifth District says he expected his oil bill to go up. But more than a thousand dollars for the year?
GARRETT: We’re gonna have to obviously turn the thermostat down for those cold nights and wear sweaters and all the rest.
Unfortunately, saying home heating oil hits politicians "the same way" is a bit misleading. While a $1,000 increase is roughly one half of one percent of Garrett's salary, for seniors living off of their social security of $26,220 per year, it's closer to four percent.
Garrett can turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater; however, there are over 100,000 families in NJ alone that will be doing that while also having to choose between heat, medication, and food.
While I doubt Garrett will change his opposition to low-income home heating assistance, maybe it will serve as a reminder that people making less than $169,300 are feeling a heck of a pinch this winter.