robocalls

How robocalls may be the thing to unite Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 178

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., participates in the House Democrats’ news conference on health care reform in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Robocall compromise bill set up for quick House passage
Text of the Pallone-Thune bill was released Wednesday

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., teamed up with Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., to introduce a compromise robocalls bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s one issue that is likely to unite Congress before the end of the year: tackling the robocall epidemic plaguing phones of lawmakers and constituents alike. House and Senate lawmakers released text Wednesday of a bipartisan compromise measure that merges the House and Senate versions passed earlier this year.

The joint bill will require phone companies to verify that phone numbers are real and block robocalls without charging consumers any extra money. The measure also pushes the Justice Department to bring more criminal prosecutions against robocallers and gives the Federal Communications Commission more time and authority to investigate and punish illegal robocallers.

House clears bill to relieve onslaught of robocalls plaguing Americans
The House voted to pass a bill that would require phone companies to offer screening technology to customers at no cost

The House passed a bill, sponsored by Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., to tackle robocalls. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers and their constituents are fed up with the bombardment of nuisance and scam calls plaguing their cell phones 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.

Senate backs bill to stem flood of robocalls plaguing cell phones
Bipartisan effort would increase civil penalties to $10,000 per call

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., sponsored the bill to tackle illegal robocalls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are fed up with the barrage of scam and nuisance calls plaguing them and their constituents and on Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

Senators voted, 97-1, to pass a bill (S 151) designed to authenticate and block robocalls and enforce penalties on scammers who use automated equipment to pump phones full of bogus calls.

'ROBOCOP' Bill Gains Senate Support
Act proposed by Sen. Chuck Schumer would defend against robocalls

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., listens during a public meeting. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senator Chuck Schumer wants phone companies to provide consumers with technology that would stop voice and text message robocalls to landlines and cell phones.   

He plans to introduce a bill called the Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phone (ROBOCOP) Act, which also would require telephone companies to label and block fraudulent phone calls that try to hide the identity of the caller.