WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Michael S. Lee (R-Utah) introduced the bipartisan “Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls (HANGUP) Act” yesterday, March 8.
This bill strikes a provision of the 2015 Budget Act that exempts callers collecting debt owed or guaranteed by the federal government from key robocalling and robotexting protections.
The bill also rescinds the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadnet et. al Declaratory Ruling, which formally exempts government contractors from the TCPA.
Both harmful carve outs could pave the way for a deluge of unwanted robocalls and robotexts from federal debt collectors, military recruiters, tax collectors, and other federal contractors.
In 1991 Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the law that ensures that consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls from telemarketers.
“When Congress passed the TCPA, the goal was clear: consumers should not be subject to unwanted robocalls and robotexts on their phones,” said Senator Markey, the House author of the TCPA.
“But recent carveouts by Congress and the FCC allow government contractors to robocall and robotext consumers without their affirmative express consent. I’m proud to introduce the HANGUP Act, which will ensure that government contractors are subject to meaningful rules protecting consumers from abusive robocalls and robotexts. No one wants to be interrupted during family mealtime or when helping children with homework. I thank Senator Lee for his partnership on this important issue,” said Massachusetts junior senator in a press release.
“This bill is a check on Congressional entitlement and bureaucratic overreach,” said Senator Lee. “If independent and private businesses are not allowed to harass consumers with unwanted robocalls and texts, government and government contractors should be held to that same standard.”
A copy of the HANG UP Act can be found HERE.