Blumenthal Cosponsors Bill to Protect Americans From Unwanted Robocalls and Texts

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) cosponsored the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls (HANGUP) Act, which protects student loan and mortgage borrowers, veterans, farmers, taxpayers, and others from unwanted robocalls and texts. The HANGUP Act, introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA.), strikes Section 301 of the Budget Act of 2015, legislation passed last week by Congress, which exempts callers collecting debt owed or guaranteed by the federal government from key provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).

“Since 1991, Americans have been protected from harassing, intrusive phone calls on their mobile devices, but after last week’s Budget Act, the floodgates are open,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Veterans, students, farmers – anyone with a government-backed debt – can now be bombarded by phone calls from debt collectors. The federal government should have no involvement in allowing these calls to occur, but this new provisions throws fuel on an industry with a history of abusive tactics by encouraging the government to hire private debt collection companies to exploit this new loophole. I will fight to right this wrong and pass the HANGUP - Helping Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone – Act to repeal this provision. We should be making it harder – not easier – for these largely unwanted robocalls to reach and disrupt families in Connecticut and across the country.”

Congress passed the TCPA with this key goal in mind: consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls on their mobile phones,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, the House author of the TCPA. “Yet, despite the overwhelming popularity of the TCPA, the Budget Act passed last week rolls back a key provision protecting consumers from unwanted robocalls and texts. The budget bill makes it easier to harass students, consumers, veterans – anyone with a debt backed by the federal government -- on their mobile phones.  That’s why today I am introducing the HANGUP Act – the Helping Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls Act – to repeal this problematic provision in the budget act and put a stop to these unwanted robocalls and texts.”

The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D – Mo.), Ron Wyden (D – Ore.) Robert Menendez (D – N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D – Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D – Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I – Vt.),  Al Franken (D – Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D – Minn.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).

The bill text can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1XPhM5Z