Johnson’s bipartisan anti-robocalls bill passes House as part of larger legislation

Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) to catch robocallers on July 24 received U.S. House of Representatives approval as part of a larger bill.

“This is an issue that both sides should be able to work together on, and we did,” Rep. Johnson said.

Rep. Johnson on June 26 introduced the Tracing Back and Catching Unlawful Robocallers Act of 2019, H.R. 3434, with U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to publish an annual report on suspected unlawful robocalls.

“This bill would require the FCC to publish an annual report on the private-led efforts being done to trace the origin of unlawful robocalls, which is an important step in stopping these bad-actors from reaching consumers,” said Rep. Johnson.

H.R. 3434 passed the House on Wednesday as part of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, H.R. 3375, which had 237 cosponsors and received House approval with a 429-3 vote.

“Our work is not over yet, and H.R. 3375 is a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Johnson, whose office cited 2018 data showing that more than 48 billion robocalls were made throughout the United States last year, an increase of 17 billion over 2017 numbers.

H.R. 3375 would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify the prohibitions on making robocalls, according to the bill’s text.

For instance, H.R. 3375 would require all service providers to implement new technology to ensure caller-ID is authenticated at no additional charge for consumers, and would establish additional protections for consumers who receive unwarranted calls, among other provisions.

“Robocalls are a serious and annoying problem, not only in eastern and southeastern Ohio, but across America,” Rep. Johnson said. “I’ve heard from many Ohioans about just how irritating these calls can be, and trust me, I get them too.

“Whether it’s a landline or a cell phone, these calls are growing more sophisticated by the day and must be stopped,” added the congressman.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday received H.R. 3375 for consideration.