On October 1, 2013, six ranking members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama regarding the Federal Lifeline Program. In the letter, Congressmembers Lujan, Waxman, Eshoo, Doyle, Matsui, and Welch urged the President to continue recent enforcement actions as well as prioritize the construction of eligibility databases because millions of low income Americans depend on the Lifeline program as a vital communication link.
The letter explained that when it expanded the Lifeline program, the Bush Administration failed to establish appropriate controls to protect the program from waste, causing the program's reputation to suffer. The letter notes that "the future of this worthy program is now being threatened by those who repeat myths and untruths about it in order to score political points." It further enphasized that "eliminting [the program] would not reduce our nation's budget deficit by a single penny, but would have a huge impact on the millions of Americans that rely on Lifeline today."
The Congressmembers cited the FCC's most recent enforcement action, issued late Monday evening, as evidence that the agency is taking its enforcement responsibilities seriously. In this action, discussed in our prior blog post, the FCC has proposed to fine five ETCs $14.4 million for alleged internal duplicates within their own subscriber bases. The letter then points out that the FCC is working on a database to prevent such duplicates in the future, and its completion is expected by early 2014.