VIDEO: House passes Latta anti-robocall bill
Today the House passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, legislation to combat the rise in illegal robocalls. Congressman Bob Latta, the Ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, introduced the Support Tools to Obliterate Pesky (STOP) Robocalls Act earlier this year with Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA). Their legislation was a major component of this bipartisan package.
Latta’s language in the package builds on the FCC’s recent announcement that it would allow carriers to provide robocall blocking technologies to customers on an informed opt-out basis. Currently, you have to opt-in. His language also would increase communication between the FCC and phone companies, and study the benefits of having better illegal robocall tracking systems.
Ahead of the vote, Congressman Latta spoke on the House floor sharing why this bill is so important for Ohio and communities across the country.
Congressman Latta’s remarks, as prepared:
Thank you for yielding. Madame Speaker, I rise today because robocalls have to stop.
With the help of phone carriers and the FCC, we’ve crafted solid legislation in the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.
But the most important voices heard in the crafting of this bill were the men and women from our districts who have had to deal with these calls. Illegal robocalls are annoying, disruptive, and harmful.
Sadly Madame Speaker, for many people in Ohio and across the country, these calls have also ruined lives.
I hosted a workshop geared towards helping seniors avoid becoming victims of scams, including illegal robocalls. The stories are heartbreaking.
We heard from seniors who have been manipulated into giving away their life savings to scammers, often because they were tricked into thinking someone they love had been hurt. They told me that if there was a way for them to know that it was an illegal robocall before they answered the phone, this could possibly have been prevented.
That is one of the many solutions we offer in the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. I’m proud to have contributed with language from my own STOP Robocalls Act, which would make it easier for Americans to access robocall blocking technology through their phone companies on an informed, opt-out basis.
Prior to my bill and the FCC ruling, these services were only available to consumers who opted-in to receive them. This restriction made the number of customers using blocking technology very low. This bill will change that.
Madame Speaker, Americans deserve peace of mind knowing that the phones that connect us to the world are being used for good, not scams. I thank Chairmen Pallone and Doyle and Ranking Member Walden for working with me on this legislation and urge my colleagues to pass it.
I yield back.