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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Poor and elderly Americans who rely on aid from the federal government to heat their homes stand to get less help this year if Congress and the White House fail to figure out a way to avoid the combination of tax increases and automatic spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

Nationally, the government is planning to distribute $3.47 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds to the states this fiscal year to help pay for heating and cooling costs during the upcoming year.

Ninety percent of the money has been delivered, but the remaining 10 percent, $347 million, could hinge on the outcome of talks in Washington to avoid the fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to begin Jan. 1.