We live in dangerous times. Enemies of the Obama Phone program make no secret of the fact that they want to kill this valuable, important program that helps millions of needy Americans. So it is now time for us to take a stand in favor of the program.
Politicians are complaining that it “costs too much.” But the fact of the matter is that the program is paid for not by taxes, but by a small fee added to every phone bill in the United States.
Regulators are taking aim at the program. Instead of expanding it to include high-speed broadband service, the Federal Communications Commission has reversed course and has “temporarily” killed the broadband expansion.
Proponents of smaller government are hoping the slash spending, especially on government aid programs. President Trump has proposed a budget with $4.1 trillion dollars in cuts on the next ten years — cuts to Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). In other words, cuts to the very programs that make America’s needy eligible for the Obama Phone program.
Here’s how vox.com explains the cuts:
- All $880 billion in Medicaid cuts included in the Republican health plan that has passed the House, plus $610 billion in additional cuts due to adopting an even stingier formula for increasing Medicaid funding year over year. This amounts to a total cut to Medicaid of over 47 percent.
- $191 billion in cuts from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, over 10 years. That’s about a 25 percent cut. The administration claims it will achieve this by adding new work requirements, but it would effectively require kicking many people off the program or dramatically cutting benefit amounts.
- $40.4 billion in cuts to the earned income tax credit and child tax credit over 10 years, programs that, along with SNAP, make up much of the US’s safety net for poor people. Trump would require parents receiving benefits to submit a Social Security number to weed out unauthorized immigrants — even those whose children are US citizens.
- $21.6 billion in cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or welfare, over 10 years. That’s a nearly 13 percent cut to the program, which has already been cut dramatically since the 1990s.
Since the rules of the Lifeline Assistance program were changed back in December, 2016 TANF is no longer one of the programs by which you can qualify for an Obama Phone. But Tribal TANF can still be used to qualify by Native Americans.
BusinessInsider.com reports that President Obama recently defended the ObamaCare program against those who would destroy it:
Former President Barack Obama took a swipe at his successor during a private even Thursday, noting that polls have shown the Affordable Care Act to be more popular than President Donald Trump.
A person who attended the event paraphrased Obama’s comments to CNN, saying Obama told the audience in Manhattan that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is more popular than the current president.
Recent polling has shown that Obamacare has hit its highest popularity ever, drawing the support of 55% of Americans in a Gallup survey on April 4.
In comparison, the most recent reading on Trump’s approval rating from Gallup on Thursday sat at 43%, with 52% disapproving of the president’s handling of his job.
While this is all well and good, we believe the former President needs to offer an equally strong defense of Obama Phones, his other signature program.
And former President Obama isn’t the only one who needs to speak out. So do you. So do your friends and neighbors. So does anyone who knows how vital this program is to America’s financially disadvantaged.
Here’s how you can make your voice heard and help save the Obama Phone program:
Contact the Federal Communications Commission
Write to the Federal Communications Commission and ask it to keep the Obama Phone program alive. If you want to write a letter or make a phone call, here’s the contact info you need:
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
If you want to email the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai or any of the other FCC Commissioners, here are their email addresses:
Chairman Ajit Paid: Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly: Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to call the FCC, the toll-free phone number is 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322)
Contact your local member of the House of Representatives.
Tell them how important the Obama Phone program is and demand that it be fully funded. You can find your local representative’s address and phone number here:
Just plug in your zip code and you will quickly find the name of your local Representative and all his or her contact information.
Contact your United States Senator.
Each state has two United States Senators. Contact each of them to tell how much the Obama Phone program has helped you and your family and implore him or her not to kill the program, but to expand it to even more needy Americans. You can find your United States Senator’s address and phone number here:
Don’t just sit there.
Don’t just sit there. Do something. Get active. Make your voice heard. They want to take away your Obama Phone. And if you don’t do something, the Obama Phone program will simply fade away into the mists of history.
Call. Email. Write a letter. But do it now.