Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress joined together on Thursday to reintroduce the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls, or HANGUP Act.
The Act, which is sponsored by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., would help prevent consumers from receiving robocalls and robotexts from Federal debt collectors and government contractors by removing exemptions in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The legislation has been introduced in the last two Congresses but didn’t gain significant traction.
“Congress passed the TCPA to ensure that consumers are not harassed with unwanted robocalls and texts,” Lee said. “The HANGUP Act ensures that government and government contractors are held to the same standard that we hold independent and private businesses.”
Markey agreed with his colleague and said, “consumers should be empowered to say no to any unwanted and abusive robocall or robotext, especially from a Federal debt collector. The bipartisan HANGUP Act will ensure that government contractors are subject to meaningful rules protecting consumers from robocalls and robotexts.”
The HANGUP Act would strike a provision passed in 2015 that exempted those collecting debts owed to the Federal government from TCPA’s robocalling and robotexting protections. It would also rescind the 2016 Federal Communications Commission’s ruling that exempted government contractors from the same protections.
“What Congress instituted to protect consumers was rolled back in 2015, subjecting consumers to these incessant barrages,” Eshoo said. “The bipartisan HANGUP Act cracks down on the unacceptable 26 billion robocalls made last year and stops debt collectors from going after Americans who have difficulty paying their Federal student loans.”