Democrats Say Government, Contractors Shouldn’t Be Exempt From Robocall Rule

Ten Senate Democrats want to know how the Federal Communications Commission and the Office of Management and Budget “intend to help protect consumers from receiving intrusive robocalls from the federal government and its contractors” following a recent FCC decision to exempt the government from those rules.

“We are concerned that consumers may now be bombarded by unwanted robocalls and robotexts, with no effective means of stopping these harassing communications,” the senators wrote in a Tuesday letter to the heads of the FCC and OMB.

The letter was signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Al Franken (Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

In a July 5 ruling, the FCC said that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act doesn’t apply to federal agencies or government contractors. The TCPA prohibits businesses from making multiple automated calls to landlines and cellphones.

“Congress demonstrated that it intended that the TCPA applies to government agents and contractors,” the senators wrote. “We must ensure that government contractors are subject to meaningful rules that prohibit them from violating the consumer protections established by the TCPA, and that whatever rules are established can be enforced by consumers.”

The senators asked both FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and OMB Director Shaun Donovan to provide details on how their agencies would protect consumers from government robocalls.