House passes Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (HR 3375) on July 24 by a vote of 429–3. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Frank Pallone, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman

“Today, the House of Representatives voted to restore Americans’ confidence in the telephone system and put consumers back in charge of their phones. 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 American people are counting on us to help end the robocall epidemic, and we will deliver for them.”

— Frank Pallone, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman

SBRA highlights

  • Requires call authentication technology, i.e., STIR/SHAKEN
  • Allows carriers to offer call blocking for free
  • Directs the FCC to issue rules to protect consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive and to ensure consumers can withdraw consent
  • Requires the FCC to enact safeguards so callers can’t abuse robocall exemptions
  • Extends the statute of limitations from one year to three, and in some cases four, years for robocall violators
  • Mandates FCC reporting to Congress

Recent changes

The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (SBRA) evolved along its path to passage in the House. It originally included specific consumer protection provisions. To secure passage, the legislation was modified to instruct the FCC to address these consumer protection issues, but without spelling out the exact details.

  • The original version expanded the definition of Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) to close loopholes exploited by robocallers. As passed, the SBRA now instructs the FCC to update the definition of an ATDS.
  • The original version said that consumers can always withdraw consent to be called. As passed, the SBRA now directs the FCC to issue rules that ensure that consumers can withdraw consent.