Shaheen, Hassan Praise House-Approval of Bipartisan Anti-Robocall Bill & Call for a Final Vote in the Senate
HASSAN: “Unless the unknown caller is Mr. Claus himself, no one wants to be barraged with unsolicited phone calls during the holidays, or any time of the year”
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements after the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to crack down on robocalls. The legislation improves the federal government’s ability to find scammers, increases penalties on those caught, and requires call authentication and blocking technology to be made available free of charge to consumers. The bill also brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to evaluate policies and resources needed to better prosecute and deter illegal robocalls, among other provisions.
Both the Senate and House passed versions of the bill earlier this year. Shaheen and Hassan are cosponsors of the bill that passed the Senate in May. Lawmakers from both chambers conferenced on the bills and unveiled negotiated legislation last week. Now that this legislation has passed the House, it will next go before the Senate for consideration before it is sent to the President to be signed into law.
“As we approach the holidays, one of the best gifts this Congress could give the American people is relief from the scourge of robocalls,” said Senator Shaheen. “Granite Staters are absolutely fed up with these illegal calls and it’s past time for Congress to act to deliver accountability to those responsible. I’m very relieved that we’ve been able to make progress on a bipartisan basis, and I urge Leader McConnell to bring this bill up for a final vote in the Senate quickly so that this measure can be signed into law by the President.”
“Unless the unknown caller is Mr. Claus himself, no one wants to be barraged with unsolicited phone calls during the holidays, or any time of the year,” said Senator Hassan. “Congressional action to stem the tide of these obnoxious, illegal calls and hold scammers accountable is long overdue. I urge Majority Leader McConnell to take the critical step of bringing this commonsense, bipartisan legislation up for a vote in the Senate without delay so that it can be signed into law before the end of the year.”
So far this year, Americans have received 54 billion robocalls and more than 136 million were placed to New Hampshire numbers. In June, Shaheen held a press conference in Concord with the New Hampshire Department of Justice, AARP New Hampshire, the Public Utilities Commission and other Granite State stakeholders to discuss the work underway in Congress to combat the bombardment of robocalls.
The legislation would do the following to clamp down on robocalls:
- Broadens the authority of the FCC to immediately levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on those who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions;
- Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations from one to four years after a robocall is placed;
- Requires service providers to implement call authentication and blocking technologies free of charge for consumers and small businesses;
- Brings together relevant federal agencies as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams at the federal and state levels;
- Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking process to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers;
- Requires the FCC to establish partnerships to better inform efforts to protect consumers, including an advisory committee to develop best practices to combat unlawful robocalls made to hospitals, and a consortium to trace the origins of illegal robocalls;
- Directs the FCC to protect consumers from one-ring scams, in which callers ring once and then hang up, attempting to trick the consumer into calling back and incurring hefty charges; and
- Requires the FCC to report to Congress on enforcement and compliance progress.
Full text of the legislation is available here.
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