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Energy Policy Conference & Awards Cocktail Reception REGISTER

The effort to stop illegal robocalls received a boost recently when the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.

Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chairman of the committee, H.R. 3375 would require all phone line carries to implement new technology to authenticate caller ID information and allow for the blocking of such calls without charging consumers an extra fee. It would also increase penalties and give the Federal Communications Commission new tools to go after illegal robocallers.

“Today, the American people are one step closer to reclaiming control of their phones from annoying and illegal robocalls,” Pallone said in a statement on July 17. “This legislation will ensure every call Americans get is verified by Caller ID and that consumers can block calls they don’t want.  I look forward to having the full House vote on our bill soon.”

Emily Birnbaum of The Hill wrote that some estimates have put the number of robocalls in the U.S. in 2018 at 26.3 billion, a 46% increase from the year before.

The unanimous vote and the fact that it has over 150 cosponsors indicates that chances are a good the bill will pass the House.  Birnbaum noted, “The Senate last month voted 97-1 in favor of a similar anti-robocall bill that would also promote call authentication and blocking, and help coordinate enforcement to increase prosecution of illegal robocallers.

“The similarity of the House and Senate bills has offered some optimism that the first anti-robocall bill could be signed into law as soon as this year,” Birnbaum stated.