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Senate passes bipartisan robocall bill; president expected to sign it into law

The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill on Dec. 19 aimed at reducing robocalls.

The bill, known as the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence [TRACED] Act, would enable the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to enforce up to a $10,000 fine against someone who is found to have intentionally violated robocall rules.

The legislation also requires the FCC to mandate that all voice service providers must implement a call authentication framework within 18 months.

The bill directs the FCC to prohibit voice service providers from adding extra line item charges for consumers and small business customers for call authentication technology, among other provisions.

The bill already passed the House and now heads to the president to sign. One of the sponsors of the bill, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a Dec. 19 news release that President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

USTelecom, a trade group representing telecommunications companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., lauded the bill's passage.

"The robocall battle won't be won overnight, but this landmark bill will supercharge the fight against a determined enemy," said Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, in a statement.