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Posted: Thursday, 09 May 2013 7:03AM

Free phones program under fire

U.S. Sentor David Vitter of Louisiana is looking for a way to quickly kill a government program that pays for cell phones for low income Americans. 

Vitter has introduced legislation to end the program that some call "Obama Phones."

He says the Lifeline Program, introduced in 1984, was originally about expanding land line phone service to rural areas and low income households, but has morphed into something very different.

"Now all of sudden it's a free cell phone program," Vitter objected.  "The cost has gone from a very modest cost to $2.3 billion a year."

Vitter says the program has lacked proper oversight, and is now riddled with fraud and abuse. He says the Lifeline program no longer addresses its primary mission, and his bill would return it to that original purpose--while protecting taxpayers from future excessive government handouts.

The Senator says he will also try to attach the legislation to another "must-pass" bill in the Senate to try and get it passed quickly.

Supporters of the program say poor Americans need a cell phone to help them find and keep a job, call 911 and for other reason.

The FCC's website says Lifeline is "to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services."

Click here for more information on the program...

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