Press Release

Blackburn and Griffin Demand Accountability in the Lifeline Program

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Washington, May 7, 2013 | Mike Reynard (202-225-1112) | comments
Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tim Griffin (R-AR) joined together to demand the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) answer questions about the Lifeline program, which is paid for by American telecommunications consumers. Even though theFCC has adopted two orders to reform the Lifeline entitlement program, it is still plagued by waste, fraud and abuse. The fact that the FCC can’t even comment on whether or not the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, participated in the Lifeline program is further proof the program is mismanaged and dysfunctional.

“The Lifeline program is another example of how the culture of dependency is weakening America. How can the FCC justify the continued growth of the Lifeline program beyond $2.2 billion a year when they can’t even tell us whether the Tsarnaev brothers participated in the program?” asked Blackburn. “I’m convinced that the only way to combat the waste, fraud and abuse of the Lifeline program is to freeze it until we get answers and have safeguards fully implemented addressing duplication, eligibility and illicit use. This effort is really about making government more efficient and doing what we can to lower the cost of consumers’ cell phone bills.”

“Earlier this year I introduced the Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act (H.R. 176) because I was concerned with the failure of the Lifeline program,” said Griffin. “Since millions of law-abiding American consumers pay for this entitlement program through a surcharge on their phone bill, the public has a right to know whether Lifeline benefits were received by the alleged Boston Marathon bombers. Ratepayers deserve to know that the money they pay to support Lifeline is spent wisely and not being used for illicit purposes.”

Click here to read the letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski from Representatives Blackburn and Griffin.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn is Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Founding Member of the Republican Women's Policy Committee. Congressman Tim Griffin is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
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