December 13, 2019
Pallone-Thune TRACED Act Passed House Last Week
South Amboy, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) provided an update on legislation to stop bad robocalls after the House acted last week by a 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. This year, New Jerseyans have received more than an estimated 200 million robocalls in the 732 area code alone and over a billion statewide.
“The House took an important step to give Americans back control of their phones. This is critical 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. It’s time we send a message to scammers and spammers that their days are numbered,” Congressman Pallone said.
“These calls are not just annoying, in a lot of instances they are scams targeted at consumers. Unfortunately, these scams are becoming more sophisticated every day,” Pallone continued. “While there won’t be a single silver bullet to fix them all, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act aggressively attacks the problem. I thank Senator Menendez for his leadership on this critical issue.”
“Now that the House has passed the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act of 2019, the only thing stopping this bill from going to the President’s desk are Republicans in the U.S. Senate obstructing the legislative process for no good reason at all,” said Senator Menendez. “I don’t know anyone who likes these robocalls. I don’t know anyone who says, ‘Please, can I have another, sir?’ On the contrary, I am constantly hearing from constituents who are sick and tired of these endless robocalls and want Congress to do something about it.”
“Congressman Pallone has led the fight to protect Americans from disruptive and at times dangerous spam calls. Robokiller’s technology helps millions of consumers battle against spammers every day and we support the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, which will further empower consumers to stop spam calls and take back their valuable time. We are committed to sharing our experience and working with legislators to help ensure consumers are victorious in the fight against spam calls,” said Ethan Garr, SVP at Teltech, the maker of Robokiller, which is operated by IAC.
“The robocall problem has exploded over the past decade. Consumers are inundated with irritating and harmful messages around the clock. Many of these robocalls come from unscrupulous telemarketers who are breaking the law and pressuring people to buy products they don’t want or need. We thank Chairman Pallone and Senator Menendez for fighting for passage of the TRACED Act,” said Chuck Bell, Programs Director for the Advocacy Division of Consumer Reports. “This bill will provide consumers with much needed protections in the fight against robocalls. The bill will not only require phone companies to adopt effective technologies to help stop scam calls, it will help empower the FCC to go after the bad actors who place these calls, and provide consumers with free anti-robocall blocking tools.”
“AARP has a long history as a consumer advocate. Through our Fraud Watch Network initiative, we work to empower consumers to protect themselves and their families from scams,” said AARP NJ Director of Advocacy, Evelyn Liebman. “Con artists frequently use illegal robocalls to deceive victims into paying money under false pretenses. On behalf of our nearly 38 million members including our 1.3 members in the Garden State, and all older Americans nationwide, we commend Congressman Pallone and Senator Menendez for their leadership on this issue. All New Jerseyans, indeed all Americans will benefit from the safety provisions of the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act.”
“New Jersey Citizen Action thanks Congressman Pallone for introducing legislation to modernize Federal Trade Commission regulations with a commonsense response to the overwhelming invasions of robocalls into our personal lives,” said Jerome Montes, Communications Director, New Jersey Citizen Action. “This bill gives the public the tools we need to stop these unwanted and, in many cases, illegal and harassing calls, which too often prevent us from receiving and responding to the essential calls we need to manage our personal business.”
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.
Last week, Pallone spoke on the House Floor in favor of the legislation. Video of his remarks are available here.