House passes anti-robocall bill in major crackdown on spam calls

The scourge of robocalls is one step closer to being eradicated.

In a 429-3 vote, the House of Representatives passed Wednesday a bill that would dramatically crack down on the billions of illegal phone calls plaguing the United States.

The measure, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, D-N.J., aims to strenghten the Federal Communication Commission's ability to take action against illegal robocalling operations, requiring all carriers to implement technology to make sure that calls are authentic.

"We’re proud of the strong support our bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act received this afternoon and look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to produce a bill that the President can sign into law," the leading sponsors of the bill said in a statement. "The American people are counting on us to help end the robocall epidemic, and we will deliver for them.”

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Can robocalls be stopped? A new measure that passed the House of Representatives would help.

Can robocalls be stopped? A new measure that passed the House of Representatives would help. (iStock)

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Besides requiring carriers to implement technology that verifies whether calls are authentic, the measure also requires the FCC to raise the penalty for illegal robocallers from $1,500 per violation to $10,000 per violation.

A similar measure in the Senate passed 97-1 earlier this year.

"I look forward to working with my Senate partner and my House colleagues ... to conference our robocall bills and send legislation to the president. Consumers deserve relief," said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., one of the lead sponsors of the Senate's anti-robocall bill, in a statement on Twitter.

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