Rep. Payne, Jr. votes to reduce illegal Robocalls

Dec 5, 2019 Issues: Local Issues

Media Contact:    Patrick Wright -- (202) 225-3436 -- patrick.wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. wants the federal government to do more to protect Americans from unwanted phone calls.       

Congressman Payne, Jr. voted for the TRACED Act (S.151) yesterday, a bill that would establish stronger consumers protections against illegal robocalls.  It would require telephone carriers to use more advanced caller-ID technology to identify and screen scammers, establish more severe criminal and financial penalties for intentional violations of ant-robocall laws, and create strict rules regarding who can make robocalls and how often they can make them.  Violators could be fined $10,000 or more and face criminal charges.      

Congressman Payne, Jr. understands the problems robocalls create for people and the nation.     

“Illegal robocalls are not just annoying, they are a violation of our privacy and trust,” said Congressman Payne, Jr.  “Every year, scammers use robocalls to steal millions of dollars from our most vulnerable residents, such as senior citizens.  I am glad this bill will increase the fines for illegal robocalls and empower federal authorities to pursue criminal actions against violators.  We have to lower the number of robocalls in this country.”

Robocalls have become a national epidemic.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that half of all calls to U.S. phones will be spam, roughly 50 billion phone calls per year.  The new bill would give more authority to the FCC and Department of Justice (DOJ) to fight robocalls, encourage more telephone carriers to help officials trace the origins of such calls, and even create a group to protect doctors and hospitals from robocalls.  Robocallers have been known to pose as medical officials and make phony calls to patients to request sensitive medical information.          

Congressman Payne, Jr. said every American should have more authority to decide who gets to use their phone numbers to call or send information.   

“Cell phones have given us the ability to communicate with anyone at any time,” said Congressman Payne, Jr.  “But it also allows us to be contacted at times that are not appropriate or convenient.  I am working on Congress every day to protect Americans from those unwanted and illegal calls.”