Federal legislation designed to crack down on illicit robocalls has passed the House of Representatives, bringing one step closer to becoming law in the near future.
The bill, called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act), represents an agreement between both parties in the House the U.S. Senate on the specific provisions of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Sen. John Thune.
In a statement released after the vote, Pallone, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH) said:
“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 Federal Communications Commission and law enforcement the authority to quickly go after scammers. The American people are demanding relief from these calls, and the House has delivered.
“We look forward to quick Senate action on this bill so it can be sent to the President’s desk for his signature,” they said
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 at no additional charge to consumers;
- gives the Federal Communications Commission (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 FCC 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.