WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives today passed Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.’s bill, the Pallone-ThuneTRACED Act, by an overwhelming vote of 417-3.
The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was announced as part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the House and Senate last month, which reconciled the different anti-robocalls bills passed by the Senate in May and the House in June.
This agreement increases the chances of the bill passing the Senate and being signed into law by the President.
“Today, the House is giving Americans back control of their phones," said Pallone (NJ-06), who has offices on Church Street in New Brunswick. "Talk to anyone, and you will hear just how annoyed people are by these calls. According to Robokiller, a whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone. And in my district, according to YouMail, more than 200 million calls have been made to the 732 area code this year. That’s outrageous."
“This is important legislation because unlawful robocalls are not only a nuisance, they are also undermining our entire phone system and consumers' safety as a result. Too often Americans simply will not pick up their phones, out of fear that a robocall is on the other end of the line."
Pallone said that not only are the calls annoying, but they are scams targeted at consumers.
"Unfortunately, these scams are becoming more sophisticated every day," he said. "All of these scams are different, and there won’t be a single silver bullet to fix them all, but the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act attacks the problem from multiple angles. It’s time for the Senate to pass this legislation and get it to the President’s desk for a signature.”
The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:
- Requires carriers to offer call-authentication technology to everyone 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.
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 of Representatives passed Pallone’s Stopping Bad Robocalls Act by an overwhelming vote of 429-3. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act reconciles the differences between those two bills.
Pallone spoke on the House Floor in favor of the legislation. Video of his remarks are available here.