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Goodlatte Co-Sponsors Bill to End Federal Subsidies for Free Cell Phones


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement after signing on in support of the Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act (H.R. 176):

"What started with good intentions as the Lifeline plan has now grown into Uncle Sam's unlimited plan. Federal subsidization of wireless phone service has increased the cost of this program exponentially, with some recipients obtaining multiple free cell phones. Many of the individuals who receive this assistance may not even be eligible -- nearly 41 percent according to The Wall Street Journal. This is yet another example of a program that started as well-intentioned, but has grown well beyond its original intent, scope, and cost and is no longer appropriate in these times of record debt and deficits.

"Congress has a clear choice. With the national debt topping $16 trillion, Congress must examine all federal programs and cut areas where waste, fraud, and abuse are prevalent. It's time to put an end to this abuse and return to fiscal responsibility in Washington."

The Federal Communication Commission's Lifeline program was established in 1984 to subsidize one wired service per household for low income individuals. In 2008, the program was expanded to subsidize wireless services. The cost of the program has grown from $822 million before the certification of the first wireless carrier to an astounding $1.75 billion in 2011. Congressman Goodlatte also cosponsored this legislation in the 112th Congress.

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