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House of Representatives pass bill that would crack down on robocalls
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House of Representatives pass bill that would crack down on robocalls

Senate has already passed a similar bill

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would target robocalls. Since the Senate has already passed a similar bill, the two sides just have to rectify the two versions of the bill into a single piece of legislation in order for it to be sent to President Donald Trump and become law.

Here's what we know about the bill

The scourge of unwanted robocalls may be one of the few things that can unite politicians in both major parties.

A new bill, dubbed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, sponsored by Rep Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) passed the House by an overwhelming margin of 429-3 on Wednesday. The three no votes came from newly independent Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).

The bill tries to deal with robocalls from two fronts: Making phone carriers verify the identity of callers without charging consumers more, and increasing the ability of the FCC to punish robocallers.

It also increases the monetary penalty for robocallers by nearly seven times, from $1,500 to $10,000.

The Senate already passed a similar bill

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act had already been passed in the Senate by a 97-1 vote in May. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the only senator to vote against it. Now the two houses of Congress need to work together to unite these two bills into a single bill.

The Senate version was introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The text of both bills is similar, with the Senate version also raising the fine to $10,000, give more power to the FCC to find and punish robocallers, and have phone carriers increase call authentication.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Markey said he looked forward to working with Thune, Pallone, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) "to conference our robocall bills and send legislation to the President. Consumers deserve relief."

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