House Passes Compromise Anti-Robocall Bill

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The House of Representatives Wednesday passed an anti-robocalls bill, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, by a vote of 417-3.

In May, the Senate passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act by a vote of 97-1. In July, the House passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act by a vote of 429-3. There were significant differences between the two bills, which were reconciled as part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement announced by the House and Senate last month. 

The deal increases the chances of this bill passing in the Senate and being signed into law by the President.  

On Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) stated: “This legislation combats the robocall epidemic by ensuring every call Americans receive will be verified and can be blocked at no extra cost to consumers. It also gives the FCC and law enforcement the authority to quickly go after scammers.” 

They look forward to quick action in the Senate. 

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:  

  • Requires carriers to offer call-authentication technology to consumers and small businesses—in rural and urban America—at no additional charge;
  • Requires opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking be offered for free;
  • Gives the FCC the ability to step up enforcement actions against unlawful robocalls with a longer statute of limitations and increased fines in certain cases;
  • Pushes the Department of Justice to bring more criminal prosecutions against criminal robocallers;
  • Requires the Commission to work to stop one-ring scams;
  • Helps the FCC and responsible carriers traceback and cutoff suspect phone companies that are responsible for sending vast numbers of unlawful robocalls; and
  • Protects patients, doctors and hospitals from unlawful robocalls. 

Click here for bill text. Click here for a section-by-section summary.  

USTelecom leads the Industry Traceback Group (ITG), a collaborative effort of companies from across the wireline, wireless, VoIP and cable industries that actively trace and identify the source of illegal robocalls. In response to the House action, USTelecom President/CEO Jonathan Spalter called the measure a “massive achievement.”

“The bipartisan coalition who responded to the robocall crisis and stayed at the negotiating table until the end deserves credit for leading this government response,” said Spalter. “Help is on the way because of the leadership” of Pallone, Walden Doyle and Latta. 

December 5, 2019

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