The US Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would attempt to stop the torrent of unwanted robocalls that have been increasingly annoying US consumers in recent years.
Proposed by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey and South Dakota Republican John Thune, the bill would allow the Federal Communications Commission to impose fines of up to $10,000 against people making unwanted automated calls. It would also order phone companies to put new technologies in place to limit nuisance and fraudulent calls.
“The daily deluge of robocalls that Americans experience is more than a nuisance, it is a consumer protection crisis. Today, the Senate is telling robocallers that their days are numbered,” Markey said in a statement. Markey’s office pointed to a recent study that predicted 42 percent of all calls this year would be spam calls.
The Senate passed the measure in an unusual moment of bipartisan comity, by a vote of 97-1. The US House has not yet discussed the measure, though that chamber has been discussing other ways to limit robocalls.
The legislative discussions come as the FCC has been taking regulatory steps that it says will make it easier for telephone companies to block unwanted robocalls.
Andy Rosen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.