Pallone Floor Remarks on Anti-Robocalls Legislation
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Pallone Floor Remarks on Anti-Robocalls Legislation

Today, the House will take strong
bipartisan action to protect consumers from illegal robocalls. Talk to anyone
and you’ll hear just how annoyed people are by these calls. And no wonder –
according to Robokiller, a whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made
to Americans in November alone. According to YouMail, more than 200
million calls have been made to the 732 area code in my Congressional District
this year. And this is pretty outrageous. Today, the House is giving Americans back
control of their phones. This legislation is important because
unlawful robocalls are not only a nuisance, they’re also undermining our
phone system and consumer 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. And these calls are not just annoying, in a lot of instances they are
scams targeted at consumers and unfortunately these scams are becoming
more sophisticated every day. At a hearing earlier this year, we learned
that the Moffitt Cancer Center received 6,600 scam calls in just one month
specifically designed to appear as calls coming from within the hospital. That’s
dangerous for patient safety and confidentiality, Mr. Speaker. We’ve heard
similar stories of scammers disguised as the IRS or looking to collect a debt or
scammers disguised as local governments or police departments and scammers
disguised as loved ones in trouble looking for help and these are just a
few of the examples. All of these scams are different and there won’t be a
single silver bullet to fix them all. But the TRACED Act attacks the problem from
multiple angles. First, we’re targeting fraudsters and scammers who are
violating the law. This will be done by using innovative technologies to cut
these calls off. Our bill requires carriers to implement a nationwide
caller authentication system and to make call blocking software accessible to
consumers for free. This is critical. A nationwide caller authentication system
that will help ensure consumers can trust the caller ID on their phone again
is obviously important. And call blocking is another thing that we do in the bill.
Call blocking will stop the phone from ringing link when scammers are dialing
our phones. These are two critical steps the authentication
and the blocking that will give consumers control of their phones again.
And when it comes to blocking, the TRACED Act also ensures that there is
transparency and consistency so that the calls people want are getting through.
Now second, Mr. Speaker, this bill will ensure that law enforcement and the
Federal Communications Commission have the tools, information, and incentives to
go after robocallers that break the law. We need to make sure criminal penalties
are brought by the Department of Justice to deter future robocallers from
getting into the business. And third, this bill will help us go after the dodgy
carriers that allow these unlawful calls to enter our networks in the first place.
These are some of the main provisions of this bipartisan bill but there are
others that will be discussed by my colleagues during our 20 minutes on
my side today. But I did finally want to thank Ranking Member, Mr. Walden,
Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Doyle and
Subcommittee Ranking Member Latta for their leadership and for the
determination in getting this final bill to the House floor today. I also want to
thank our partners in the Senate, Senators Thune and Markey for their commitment to
this issue and for working with us on this final bipartisan, bicameral product.
The TRACED Act takes critical steps to give consumers control of their
phones again. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation
today and I hope that it will be signed into law before the end of the year. With
that, I reserve the balance of my time, Mr. Speaker.

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