WASHINGTON, D.C.(June 22, 2016) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is pleased with the defeat of the “End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act of 2016” (H.R. 5525) in the House of Representatives, a bill that would prohibit subsidies for mobile service from the Lifeline program.
Thirty years ago during the Reagan Administration, the Lifeline program was established to allow full participation in the economy by providing qualifying low-income households with subsidies for landline telephone service. This program was eventually broadened to include mobile telephone service and broadband access, as economic trends and technological advances eventually necessitated that individuals have mobile and internet service for full participation in American society. H.R. 5525 was introduced earlier this month to strip eligible individuals of mobile service, and this bill was voted down in the House yesterday.
“The defeat of H.R. 5525 is an important victory for advocates of lower-income Americans,” said OCA National President Leslie Moe-Kaiser. “A mobile device is now necessary to access even the most basic functions of society including getting a job and having meaningful social interaction. Impoverished Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that often go unrecognized and underserved are left at risk for social and economic exclusion when we strip away from programs like Lifeline, and we are glad to see that it was defeated. We should be working towards expanding Lifeline as society moves forward to include technological necessities like broadband services, rather than restricting access to the most basic of mobile services.”
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans.