WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Grange Betsy Huber issued the following statement today:
"National Grange, the nation's oldest rural advocacy organization, appreciates the work reflected in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Lifeline program. While the report details numerous problems and vulnerabilities of the program, the Grange urges continued support for the Universal Service Fund's Lifeline program and the many rural Americans it currently serves.
Through the Lifeline program, substantial numbers of low-income Americans – including millions in rural areas of our nation - are able to communicate with prospective and current employers, connect with emergency, health, social, and educational services, and keep in touch with family and friends. There are currently as many as 15 million low-income households who, without Lifeline benefits, would have to choose between feeding their children and going without a dial tone that could save their lives or put them on a better economic path through employment.
A survey of Lifeline users indicated that nearly 70% use their Lifeline service to pursue employment and remain employed. In today's struggling economy, giving these individuals the resources they need to join or remain in the workforce is an absolute must. Rural America in particular needs Lifeline to remain connected and as a backstop in the many areas in which landline-based high-speed broadband is not available.
We recognize that, as is true of many government programs, there have been issues with Lifeline. That is why we strongly support the actions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reform and modernize the Lifeline program to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and to improve effectiveness and to reflect the changing needs of the communities served by Lifeline. We will continue to work with companies, government and Congress to find solutions to these challenges and to make the program more efficient and to reduce fraud and abuse.
The National Grange remains resolute in our backing of the Lifeline program and would encourage members of Congress and the FCC to continue to support Lifeline's ability to provide both wireline and wireless phone services. Rural America needs Lifeline and needs to have this important program fixed rather than sidelined."
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SOURCE National Grange, Washington DC