WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 – On Friday a coalition of 36 interest groups sent a letter to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., urging her to reconsider her position calling for the eliminating the Lifeline program, one of a handful of programs that currently make up the Universal Service Fund.
On June 11, McCaskill had sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn advocating the defunding of the Lifeline program in order to fund President Barack Obama’s recently announced ConnectEd initiative, which aims to provide gigabit-level broadband connections to 99 percent of students within the next five years.
McCaskill’s letter provoked a response from the coalition, which includes organizations including the AARP, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge. The coalition agreed that ConnectEd is an important program – but also emphasized the need for the Lifeline program.
The letter shared McCaskill’s concerns over possible waste and fraud within the program, but called for reform rather than abolition. The interest-group letter stated that both programs filled important needs.
“These two programs are complementary pathways to bringing connectivity to our country,” read the letter.