by Max Brantley
We've written repeatedly about Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's attack on a program that provides basic lifeline telephone service to poor people, at no cost to taxpayers and often at no cost to telephone customers.
Democratic candidate Herb Rule blasts Griffin further on the issue today, probably because Griffin has made poor folks' cell phones into a folk tale up there with food stamp lobsters and vodka.
His idea to rip away phone service from poor people is so bad only a handful of the nuttiest members of Congress have signed on. And, hey Tim, have you heard? Most people are giving up landline telephones these days in favor of the portability and sometimes lower cost of wireless phones.
Should facts, as opposed to Tim Griffin myth interest you, here's an interesting fact sheet on the program that Griffin is misrepresenting.
Rule release follows:
Democratic congressional candidate Herb Rule says Tim Griffin seems more interested lately in being on TV than actually passing legislation.
“Tim Griffin said on TV that it’s ‘mind-boggling’ more in Congress haven’t signed onto his bill,” Rule observed. “The reason is clear. It’s just a bad bill.”1\
Griffin’s bill would strip basic emergency communication service from low-income Arkansans, including many in the Second District, and take away business from 16 companies in Arkansas who participate in the Lifeline program
Griffin filed HR3481, which he calls the “Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011.” It has only 17 co-sponsors among the 435 members of Congress. While pending for nearly a year, the bill hasn’t made it out of committee.
Rule said, “Tim Griffin — or maybe we should call him ‘T.V. Tim.’ — would take us back to a time before cell phones. He believes the government should keep funding only landline telephones. Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to Tim that cell phones are often life savers in emergencies, much more so than landlines. But it appears Tim is stuck in the 20th century.”
HR3481 would strip the Federal Communication Commission’s authority to provide cellular service to low-income Americans, something it’s done since the Bush Administration. The bill would still allow land-line telephone service to be funded by the government.
“Yes, there have been some abuses in the cell phone program, but the FCC’s reforms are already working. We shouldn’t punish a wide group of people because of the actions of a few. But Tim wants to slash and burn and get on TV. He’s posted lots of videos of himself talking about it. But very few of his colleagues want anything to do with it. It’s telling of Tim’s ineffectiveness in Congress,” Rule said.