Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blackburn on Mismanagement of Obamaphone Program

From Marsha Blackburn


The Lifeline program – commonly referred to as Obamaphones – is paid for by American telecommunications consumers.

The overall cost of this program has exploded in recent years to $2.2 billion dollars a year. Even Lifeline program’s beneficiaries admit it is plagued by waste, fraud, and abuse.

You can see my statement before the Energy and Commerce Committee HERE. And here is a story aired by Fox 25 Baltimore on the abuse in the free cell phone program.

Here’s what you need to know: Lifeline is really symbolic of the Universal Service Fund and Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) mismanagement as a whole. To add fuel to the fire, there are proposals to grow the Lifeline program from wireline and wireless to broadband. The FCC can’t even contain the growth and the waste in the wireless side because they hasn’t yet stood up the eligibility database to root out ineligible participants. In our hearing this week we learned from an expert witness that the number of recipients of free phones in Maryland was nearly twice the number that should be eligible.

If Congress had to reauthorize this program instead of allowing it grow on auto-pilot, Lifeline wouldn’t be able to survive. The Lifeline program shows the government has misplaced its priorities. It’s an example of how the culture of dependency is weakening America. It’s Exhibit A of what you see when big government and crony capitalism collude to transfer wealth from the average consumer to “spread the wealth around.”

That’s why I recently signed onto Representative Tim Griffin’s legislation which would repeal the program (H.R. 176). This effort is really about serving you, making government more efficient, and doing what we can to lower the cost of consumers’ cell phone bills.

For more information on the work I am doing to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government, you can visit my website. You can also e-mail me at And don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

My Best,


The following was not part of the Blackburn email. In case you didn't see it at the time, here is the "Obamaphone lady" explaining about Obamaphones. 

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