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What you need to know

  • The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an anti-robocall bill.
  • The bill, named the TRACED Act, was passed by 417 votes to 3.
  • It seeks to protect Americans from illegal robocalls.

The House of Representatives has passed an anti-robocall call bill designed to protect Americans from illegal robocalls.

As reported by The Hill, the TRACED Act was passed by a nearly unanimous vote of 417-3 on Wednesday, December 4. The bill is also supported by the Senate, and as such, it is expected to be signed into law by President Trump before the year is out.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Frank Pallone Jr. and John Thune, as such, it bears the name of both its sponsors in its full title, the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.

Speaking to the House floor on December 4, Pallone said:

"Today the House will take strong bipartisan action to protect consumers from illegal robocalls," Pallone said on the House floor Wednesday.

"A whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone... Today, the House is giving Americans back control of their phones."

The bill will require phone companies to block robocalls without charging their customers extra, and require most US carriers to ensure any calls made come from real numbers. It will extend the time government regulators have to pin-down scammers and give them more aggressive powers to deal with culprits. The FCC will also be required to deliver reports to Congress about what action has been taken to deal with the illegal operations and to oversee a group of companies whose job it will be to investigate and determine where robocalls originate. It will also reportedly push the DoJ to take more frequent action against callers. According to the report, more than 49 billion robocalls have been placed in the US this year, often targeting establishments such as hospitals, hindering patient care.

According to reports, an amendment to the definition of a robocall did not make it into the final bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill either this week or next, and as mentioned it is reported that it already has the necessary backing.