We all get them. Those annoying calls with a recorded message once you pick up. Or a call from a phone number that looks oddly similar to your own telephone number. These are robocalls. Not only are robocalls inconvenient, but they can also be dangerous, with abusive scammers on the other end. These robocalls must stop. That is why in Congress I cosponsored and recently voted for HR 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, a bipartisan bill to end these pesky calls.
Almost all of us can agree that robocalls are bothersome, annoying and a form of harassment. In 2018, there were an estimated 47.8 billion robocalls placed. With Americans receiving more illegal robocalls than ever before, I feel it is incredibly important to support legislation that will drastically reduce the number of robocalls Americans get every day. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will require phone companies to ensure that caller ID information has been authenticated before anyone’s cellphone ever rings, eliminating many of these robocalls without a cost on consumers. I was proud to support this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill before the House of Representatives, which passed by a vote of 429-3 on July 24.
Still, it is concerning to hear from many citizens across the United States, especially folks here in Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District, that they are receiving hundreds, even thousands, of robocalls each and every month. Many criminals use robocalls to target and obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting people in order to defraud them of their savings or even of their identity. This is why I am supporting additional legislation to end the harmful practice of robocalls and protect Americans from scams and abuse.
I recently cosponsored HR 2015, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act), to further protect Americans from robocalls. This bill allows for stronger penalties like a $10,000 fine for those who intentionally violate telemarketing restrictions and increases the statute of limitations for enforcement actions. By including stronger penalties for those who abuse the “Do Not Call” database, I strongly believe the TRACED Act will help solve this epidemic of robocalls we are currently experiencing.
The House has done its part; now it is time for the Senate to pass the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act and get it to the president’s desk for signature so it can become the law of the land. That way, we can put consumers back in charge of their phones, restore confidence back into the system and stop those annoying robocalls.