Senators unveil bill to repeal budget deal’s robocall provision

Senators unveil bill to repeal budget deal’s robocall provision
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dem: Trump has to stop ‘reckless’ language on North Korea Trump sparks debate over war resolution for North Korea Foreign Relations Dem: North Korea is the modern-day Cuban missile crisis MORE (D-Mass.) and 10 other members unveiled their bill to scrap a section of the budget deal that allows the government to robocall people’s cellphones to collect debt.

The Hangup Act, slated to be introduced Wednesday, would simply repeal the small Commerce section of the bipartisan deal approved last week that exempted government debt collectors from portions of the telephone consumer protection laws.

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Markey’s office said his bill would protect “student loan and mortgage borrowers, veterans, farmers, taxpayers, and others from unwanted robocalls and texts.”

The Obama administration pushed to include the language in the budget agreement that was negotiated between the White House and congressional leaders. The administration has argued it could bring in millions of dollars and help people from defaulting on their debt and ruining their credit.

Critics of the robocall provision have called it a bad idea, but it was not enough to keep them from approving the broader budget deal that extended the debt ceiling and raised budget caps.

If the provision goes into place, the government would be able to make automated and prerecorded calls and texts to people’s cellphones “solely to collect debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.” The Federal Communications Commission will also be tasked with coming up with regulations that could limit the amount and length of calls.

Other Democratic senators to support the bill are: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Al Franken (Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

 

Markey HANGUP Act Bill Text