House Clears Bill to Relieve Onslaught of Robocalls Plaguing Americans

July 25, 2019by Katherine Tully-McManus

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and their constituents are fed up with the bombardment of nuisance and scam calls plaguing their cellphones and on Wednesday the House passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

The House voted 429-3 to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost that would identify and block spam robocalls. It would also double, to four years, the time period that parties can be prosecuted for illegal robocalls.

New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. teamed up with Oregon Republican Greg Walden to sponsor the measure, which would require the Federal Communications Commission to give Congress an annual report on its robocall enforcement activities, and provide legislative proposals to decrease their frequency.

“Illegal, unwanted robocalls threaten the foundational ways we communicate with one another and, in my opinion, that’s dangerous. It chips away at our community and public safety,” Pallone said.

Under the measure, the FCC to would need to update what it considers a “robocall,” which would require more businesses to obtain consent from customers before making automated calls.

Many lawmakers spoke on the floor about hearing from constituents who had been scammed or are frustrated by the frequency and deception of robocalls.

“I have a constituent who calls my office nearly every time he receives a robocall. He’s begged us to do something,” said Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rogers. “After today, I look forward to sharing with him that we listened and took action to solve this problem.”

In recent years technological advances have allowed robocallers to target thousands of phones with minimal effort, which some advocates say has rendered the 2003 National Do Not Call Registry ineffective.

Walden acknowledged that technology and persistent criminals adapt faster than Congress can usually act.

“Now, we know communications and technologies are constantly evolving, and unfortunately, the bad actors’ tricks are all beyond our do not call registry and I’m sure they’ll find a way to get around this effort,” he said.

The bill would require carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile start deploying the call authentication protocols to help consumers distinguish whether a call is coming from a real caller.

The House bill specifically targets the so-called “one ring scam,” in which scammers call numbers and immediately hang up, hoping that the recipient will call back. The calls usually mimic a familiar area code, but are actually international.

The bill would require the FCC to take action to protect consumers from one-ring scams and coordinate with foreign governments to address the problem.

A robocall bill the Senate passed in May would ramp up civil penalties to $10,000 per call, and it would give law enforcement tools to pursue robocallers.

The Senate bill would bring together the FCC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and a slew of federal and nonfederal agencies to prepare reports to Congress on how to improve deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams at the federal and state level.

South Dakota Republican John Thune teamed up with Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey to sponsor the measure. The pair said that while robocalls are a problem across the country, certain people are at higher risk of falling for scammers ploys to steal personally identifying information or money.

“Illegal robocalls, I think we can all agree, are a major nuisance,” said Thune after the Senate passed the bill. “Scammers use these calls to successfully pray on vulnerable populations like elderly Americans who are sometimes less technologically savvy.”

———

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Notice: Undefined variable: pc_ID in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 263


Notice: Undefined variable: primary_cat in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 268

Murphy, Panetta Named House Chief Deputy Whips for 117th Congress
Congressional Caucuses
Murphy, Panetta Named House Chief Deputy Whips for 117th Congress
December 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON -- Reps. Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, and Jimmy Panetta, of California, have been named chief deputy whips for the 11th Congress, House Majority Whip James Clyburn announced Wednesday. In addition, Clyburn announced that Reps. G.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina, and Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois, have... Read More

BPC Launches Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression
Education
BPC Launches Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression
December 2, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

WASHINGTON -- As part of the official launch of its Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression Initiative, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank dedicated to bipartisanship, hosted a roundtable discussion on campus free expression faced by today’s education leaders featuring members... Read More

Trump Era Court Battles Weaken Congressional Power
Political News
Trump Era Court Battles Weaken Congressional Power

WASHINGTON — Congress will emerge from the Trump administration with weakened power to check a president or oversee the operation of the federal government, the most consequential fallout experts see for lawmakers after four years of nearly constant high-profile courtroom showdowns with a defiant president. Democratic lawmakers often had... Read More

Historians Sue to Force Trump Administration to Preserve Records
White House
Historians Sue to Force Trump Administration to Preserve Records

Historians and watchdog groups sued the Trump administration again over its alleged failure to preserve White House records. "With President Trump's term in office soon coming to an end," the White House's flouting of record-keeping requirements could deprive historians and the public "of records documenting a critical part of our nation's history,"... Read More

Road Ahead: House Takes Up 'Tiger King' and Marijuana Bills While Seeking Spending Deal
In The News
Road Ahead: House Takes Up 'Tiger King' and Marijuana Bills While Seeking Spending Deal

WASHINGTON — Congress is focused this week on negotiating a government funding deal and determining whether bipartisan consensus can be reached to enact any additional COVID-19 relief before year's end. Those fiscal negotiations will continue among top appropriators, congressional leaders and their staffs behind the scenes while the House and... Read More

Senators Split Over End to Fed Emergency Lending Programs
Economy
Senators Split Over End to Fed Emergency Lending Programs

WASHINGTON — Democrats and Republicans split on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's decision to end most of the emergency lending facilities established at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic at a Senate hearing Tuesday. "Even the Chamber of Commerce said that shutting down the emergency lending programs 'closes the door on important liquidity options for businesses at a... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top