Eleven Senators Say No to Debt Collection Robocalls
Public Policy Fellow
You took the fight against robocalls to the Senate – and your work is paying off! Early this morning, eleven Senators introduced the HANGUP Act, which will roll back a provision in the new federal budget that allows debt collectors to robocall cell phones.
Last week, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) circulated a proposal to reverse the robocall provision in the federal budget bill. We asked you to flood Capitol Hill with emails to get as many co-sponsors as possible on the bill. And you stepped up in a big way. In just a few days, 82,000 Consumers Union supporters asked their Senators to co-sponsor the bill.
Thanks in part to your activism, Senators McCaskill (D-MO), Wyden (D-OR), Menendez (D-NJ), Blumenthal (D-CT), Leahy (D-VT), Warren (D-MA), Sanders (I-VT), Franken (D-MN), Klobuchar (D-MN), and Baldwin (D-WI) have signed on to co-sponsor the bill.
Strong laws have long been in place to shield cell phones from all but the most urgent robocalls, but special interests have worked steadily to chip away at those protections. Earlier this year, with the support of almost 200,000 consumers, consumer groups successfully fought back debt collectors who tried to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow them to robocall and text consumers without permission.
That’s why we were particularly disappointed to see that someone had covertly included a provision in the budget bill to give debt collectors the right to robocall consumers with federal debt, along with their relatives, references, and others – and why it’s so important to push back by supporting the HANGUP Act.
The Department of Education has argued that giving debt collectors the right to robocall consumers with federal debt – like education loans – would help consumers pay back their loans. But this isn’t the way out of the education debt crisis, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, it’s not expected to garner much money for the federal government. Lawmakers would do better to address some of the well-documented education loan servicing abuses.
It’s going to be a tough fight to roll back the robocalls – so we need as many consumers as possible to ask their Senators to take a stand. Please contact your Senators to ask them to support the bill. We encourage you to add your own personal message. And please share widely!