Lifeline Program http://wfpl.org en Senator Dan Coats Joins Effort to End So-Called 'Obama Phones' Program http://wfpl.org/post/senator-dan-coats-joins-effort-end-so-called-obama-phones-program <p>U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-In., is joining an effort to cut funding for a program aimed at expanding telephone service for the poor, which was attacked as the "Obama phones" program during the 2012 elections.</p><p>The Lifeline Program provides discounts on monthly telephone services for low-income consumers in order to ensure they have access to things such as 911 emergency services.</p><p>During last year's presidential campaign, however, conservatives pounced on the program after a supporter falsely claimed the Obama campaign was passing out free cell phones.&nbsp;</p><p>The "Obama phones" meme gained a foothold in search engines and political narratives despite the fact it was created in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan.</p><p>Still, lawmakers are taking aim at the program in a bill being sponsored by Republican Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.</p><p>Coats says the program has ballooned under President Obama took office, expanding to include wireless service providers and spending increases from $143 million 2008 to $2.2 billion in 2012.</p><p>"Too often, Washington creates a program that may be well-intended, but ends up costing taxpayers more money because of poor implementation and a lack of oversight," Coats said in a news release. "As many Hoosiers and middle class Americans continue to struggle in this economy, they shouldn’t have to pay for a program littered with fraud that subsidizes free cell phones. I will continue to push Congress and the administration to examine every federal program to find ways we can be more efficient and save taxpayer dollars." Wed, 08 May 2013 19:06:23 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 5306 at http://wfpl.org Senator Dan Coats Joins Effort to End So-Called 'Obama Phones' Program