Wicker Targets Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in FCC Program

GAO Report Identifies Numerous Failures in ‘Lifeline’ Phone Subsidy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, attended a hearing to address the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Lifeline program, which provides more than $1.5 billion per year to subsidize monthly telephone services for low-income consumers.

On three separate occasions since 2010, the nonpartisan GAO has found that the Lifeline program has failed to provide performance data and appropriate internal oversight, which would help ensure that the program is meeting its stated goal of expanding communications services to Americans who could not otherwise afford service. The most recent report, released on June 29, can be found here.

During the hearing, Wicker invited witnesses to provide suggestions for eliminating improper spending from the Lifeline program and directing federal resources more efficiently across the entire range of Universal Service Fund (USF) initiatives, including rural broadband access.

Witnesses at the hearing included:

Mr. Seto Bagdoyan, Director, Audit Services, Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, U.S. Government Accountability Office
Ms. Deborah Collier, Director, Technology and Telecommunications Policy, Citizens Against Government Waste
Dr. Jeffrey Eisenach, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
The Honorable Chris Nelson, Commissioner, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
Ms. Jessica J. González, Deputy Director and Senior Counsel, Free Press