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Latta’s Bipartisan Bill to Combat Robocalls PASSES HOUSE

“With an estimated 48 billion robocalls each year, it is time for Congress to take swift action against illegal robocallers and give Americans the security of knowing their incoming calls are legitimate.”

Washington, December 4, 2019

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill to combat illegal robocalls hounding Americans across the country. Included in this legislative package is a bill introduced by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5), the STOP Robocalls Act, that gives phone companies and the Federal Communications Commission the tools they need to fight back against robocalls. Latta provided the following statement on the House Floor in support of S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:

To watch Latta’s remarks, click HERE.

Latta, Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) provided the following joint statement:

“We’re proud of this overwhelming vote by the House to pass the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act today.  This legislation combats the robocall epidemic by ensuring every call Americans receive will be verified and can be blocked at no extra cost to consumers.  It also gives the Federal Communications Commission and law enforcement the authority to quickly go after scammers.  The American people are demanding relief from these calls, and the House has delivered.  We look forward to quick Senate action on this bill so it can be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.”

BACKGROUND

In his role as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee last Congress, Latta conducted a hearing on illegal robocalls where the subcommittee heard how difficult it is to hold bad actors accountable as they are often located overseas and change tactics regularly. Latta, now the Republican Leader on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (C&T), introduced the STOP Robocalls Act with C&T Subcommittee Chairman Michael Doyle.

Latta’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

          “I rise today in support of this bipartisan legislation to combat illegal robocalls. With an estimated 48 billion robocalls each year, it is time for Congress to take swift action against illegal robocallers and give Americans the security of knowing their incoming calls are legitimate.

          “That is why I introduced the bipartisan STOP Robocalls Act, which is included in the legislation before us today.  My bill would give phone companies and the Federal Communications Commission the tools they need to fight back against illegal robocalls. Private companies will be able to block fraudulent calls before they get to your phones – all with consumer control and no additional line-item charge.  My provision also improves information sharing to enhance the FCC’s ability to track and stop illegal robocall and spoofing operations.  As technology continues to evolve, so do the tactics that bad actors use to illegally spoof numbers to make fraudulent robocalls: we must allow these companies and the FCC to keep pace.

          “While we are all tired of annoying and illegal robocall scams, there are also legitimate users of autodialing technologies that must be preserved.  The bill before us today rightly recognizes those important, pro-consumer messages.  From school closures to bank fraud alerts, there are voice and text messages that consumers want, and those should not be blocked.

          “This is strong bipartisan legislation, and I’m pleased to have worked with Chairman Pallone, Republican Leader Walden, and Chairman Doyle on this bill to improve consumers’ trust in our phone system.  I urge my colleagues to support this measure, and I yield back.”

Congressman Bob Latta serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee as the Republican Leader on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee where he advocates for policies that help consumers, grow the economy and spur innovation. He also serves as an active member of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, which he previously chaired, and the Energy Subcommittee.

Congressman Latta has served on all six Energy and Commerce subcommittees. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.

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