US House Passes Legislation to Stop Billions of Robocalls Each Year

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee sponsored legislation to stop nuisance and fraudulent calls.

In 2018, there were over 26 billion unwanted robocalls in the US.

If that seems like a lot, it’s because that number marked a 46 percent increase over the previous year. The calls are a haven for fraud, with scammers netting over $9 billion.

The US House passed legislation last week to help curb the number of robocalls. Among the sponsors was Michigan Democratic Representative, Dan Kildee. 

Click the player above to hear Russ McNamara’s full interview with Congressman Dan Kildee and read edited excerpts below.

On the annoyance of robocalls

In some places, over half the calls that people receive on their cell phones are scam calls. So obviously this is something that costs people a lot of money and is an annoyance, and in some cases it leads to some customers being ripped off. 

On how the anti-robocall bill works

This legislation strengthens the Federal Communications Commission’s to go after these robocallers. And also strengthens the ability of the consumer to put those numbers that come in on a ‘do not call’ list and essentially block those calls. We will require the telephone companies to actually make sure that the number that comes through on a call is actually connected to the caller. One of the problems that we’ve seen with these scam calls is very often the number looks like it’s from your hometown. That’s a scam tactic. This bill will require telephone companies to make sure that when someone is using their phone system, that the number that appears in caller I-D is directly traceable to the individual or entity making the call. 

Will Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell take up the legislation in the Senate?

I believe so. We do have a bipartisan Senate version of this bill. It has been frustrating that Leader McConnell has blocked so many bills. We have 275 bipartisan bills that we have sent over to the Senate that they haven’t moved on. We have some reason to believe this won’t be one of the bills that gets ignored, because we have literally tens of millions of Americans that have spoken up and they want this bill passed. This bill shouldn’t be a partisan issue. 

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.