Sen. Vitter wants to end free cell phone program - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Sen. Vitter wants to end free cell phone program


U.S. Senator David Vitter from Louisiana wants to end a welfare initiative that supplies free cell phones to low income families. It's called Lifeline and it was created in 1984 specifically for land lines, according to Vitter's emailed news release.

But not everyone agrees with his legislation. We spoke to some who use the free phones.

"There are some people that really need it," said Lakesha Ester. When asked if she considered herself one of those people, Ester replied "Well, I have had a phone that I was paying for but you get in a situation and you need help at times."

Others we spoke to told us that they keep a regular phone they pay for, and only use the government issued phone when they need it.  

And one of the places to get that help is right on the sidewalk. Portable tables manned by one person and a laptop are set up around town to sign people up for the program. 
Vitter has introduced legislation to effectively end Lifeline, which is paid for with a fee tacked on to phone bills that you pay.

"It is unfortunate when these programs become so expansive that it no longer addresses its primary mission to help those with the most dire needs. Our legislation will restore Lifeline to its original intent and also protect taxpayers from further excessive government spending," Vitter wrote in his news release.

Vitter says the $2.2 billion dollar program lacks oversight and is unfair to taxpayers.

The bill is waiting for the go-ahead by Senator Harry Reid to bring it to the senate floor for a vote.  

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