Groups Pressure Senate to Preserve Lifeline Program

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Three dozen organizations, including Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America, and the Benton Foundation, have sent letters to individual members of the Senate asking them to preserve the Lifeline communications subsidy program from what they say are Federal Communications Commission efforts to undermine it. The Lifeline program is part of the Universal Service Fund subsidy and is directed at those who can't afford access to basic communications—originally phone and increasingly internet. In the letter, the groups dub the program a "successful public-private partnership." "While critics have focused on alleged fraud and abuse as a reason to eliminate or limit the program, these critiques ignore the reforms already adopted that safeguard the program," the groups said. "Lifeline modernization involved sweeping reforms, including minimum standards obligations, additional cost-control measures, and a budget of $2.25 billion annually. These reforms are rapidly being implemented and are the most effective way to safeguard the program and ensure that program funds go to families in need. Implementation of the newly adopted independent eligibility verifier begins this year and will be complete by the end of 2019." [The Benton Foundation was a signatory on the letter]

Groups Pressure Senate to Preserve Lifeline Program Protect the Lifeline Program (read the letter)