Charles Krupa, Associated Press
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, center, answers a question as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, listen during a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, N.H., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

CONCORD, N.H. — Republican presidential contenders have mixed reviews for a federal program that helps thousands of poor residents with their heating bills.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul wants to do away with the federal program altogether. He says federal subsidies are bad economic and moral policy, because they shift money from one group of people to another.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman say some programs are needed to help the poor. But Romney says states should be left to craft the programs themselves.

And Huntsman says the government should do more to bring down oil prices to help everyone.

Thousands of poor New England residents are bracing for big cuts to a heating assistance program as Congress imposes new cuts.