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Shimkus Asks Questions About Lifeline

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

In an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing today, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) asked questions about the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Lifeline program and mentioned the website, which was shortly thereafter taken down.

The phrase "Obama phone" was initiated by a supporter of the President in a video that is still available online. And the website directed potential applicants through the process of obtaining a free government cell phone.

"While the intent of the Lifeline program has some merit providing a vital connection for the elderly or poor, it has grown into free cell phones for way too many people," Shimkus said. "I am pleased that the FCC has taken some steps to reign the program in, but they still do not even have a budget for the Lifeline program."

In the hearing, Shimkus also pointed out that regardless of the program's intent, "You are doing a terrible job of marketing it. Because, you have lost the public opinion on this, and it's tough to get the genie back in the bottle."

A video of his comments and questions is available at

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