U.S. Senator David Vitter today spoke out against text messages sent by SafeLink Wireless, a company that provides cell phones as part of the Lifeline Program. Constituents have informed Vitter that SafeLink has sent text messages to cell phone recipients that read: "Save Lifeline! Call Sen Landrieu at 202-224-3121. Due to Sen Vitter program is in jeopardy."
"This just keeps getting more outrageous," Vitter said. "If corporate welfare kings have to start lobbying recipients of cell phone welfare to block my amendment, you know that this is an entitlement program gone mad."
On May 7, 2013 Vitter introduced legislation to end the welfare subsidy for mobile phone service in the Lifeline Program. Vitter also introduced this legislation as an amendment to the Senate budget resolution in March. The amendment failed 46-to-53. Click here to see the vote results. Vitter also introduced this legislation as an amendment to the Farm Bill this week.
The Lifeline Program was created in 1984 to expand landline services for low-income households through the Universal Service Fund (USF). The program supporting mobile phones was expanded in 2008 to include wireless service provider and has grown from $143 million in 2008 to nearly $2 billion in 2012.