On April 3, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told a House subcommittee that a robocall enforcement unit should be added to the Federal Communications Commission. Highlighting that consumers receive more than 5 billion robocalls a month (up from 2 million calls a month at the beginning of the Trump administration), Rosenworcel stated that “it’s time for the agency to create a new division in its Enforcement Bureau to focus strictly on robocalls.”
Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Committee on Appropriations, Rosenworcel noted that the FCC’s enforcement of robocall initiatives thus far has garnered only $6,790 in fines against bad actors. “That’s insane,” said Rosenworcel. “It is clear the agency’s current approach is not working. It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.”
Rosenworcel emphasized that robocall volume amounts to 2,000 robocalls per second every day. “Robocalls are the largest single source of consumer complaints at [the FCC],” she testified. “It’s time for the FCC to organize its work to reflect that.” Rosenworcel’s testimony notably occurred the same day that the Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously to approve the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (“TRACED”) Act. The TRACED Act would heighten potential fines for perpetrators of illegal robocalls and give the FCC more time to investigate and take enforcement actions, among other anti-robocall efforts.
Taken together, Commissioner Rosenworcel’s call for an FCC unit to police robocalls as well as the Senate’s vote on the TRACED Act mean that change is increasingly likely for robocallers and consumers alike.