Republicans and Democrats Make a Rare Show of Unity—Against Robocalls

November 16, 2018, 9:17 PM UTC

Senators from both side of the aisle have united to fight a foe so insidious that it’s a threat to both parties’ sanity: Robocalls.

South Dakota Senator John Thune (R) and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey (D) introduce the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act Friday which would increase penalties on illegal scam calls, require carriers to adopt technology that would verify calls were legitimate before connecting them to consumers’ phones, and broaden the Federal Communications Commission’s power to fine at-fault telemarketers.

“I’ve heard from countless South Dakotans who are tired of the abusive robocalls and scams that are constantly interrupting their daily lives,” said Thune, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, in a statement.

And robocallers don’t limit themselves to South Dakota area codes.

A recent report from First Orion, a company that provides caller ID and call blocking services, found that by early next year, nearly half of all calls you get will be from a mobile scammer. That’s right. A whopping 44.6% of calls Americans receive by early 2019 will be robocalls. (Versus 29.2% of calls in 2018 and 3.7% of calls in 2016.

Senators as well as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took to Twitter to celebrate the introduction of the bill.

(And if this doesn’t work, members of both political parties may find solace in the fact that Apple has filed a patent last month to detect calls made from spoofed numbers.)