Anti-robocall bill passes almost unanimously in the Senate

It still has to go through the House before it lands on the president's desk.

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MassimoVernicesole via Getty Images
MassimoVernicesole via Getty Images

Senators have overwhelmingly backed a bill to combat robocalls. They voted 97-1 to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, which would empower law enforcement to tackle robocallers, and bump up civil penalties to as much as $10,000 per call.

Despite the introduction of the Do Not Call registry in 2003, robocalls are still plaguing Americans and placing vulnerable members of society at risk of falling victim to scammers. The bill now goes to the House for further consideration -- members of that chamber have also introduced other bills to tackle robocalls.

Should it become law, the TRACED Act would set up an inter-agency group including the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the State Department, the Commerce Department and state attorneys general. They'd offer Congress recommendations on preventing nuisance and dangerous robocalls and prosecuting those behind them at federal and state level, along with strategies to implement them.

The FCC would also be tasked with proposing new rules to protect people from receiving unwanted calls and messages from unauthenticated numbers. Meanwhile, the legislation would extend the statute of limitations on robocalls from two to three years.

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