Senators Question FCC Commissioners on TCPA at Oversight Hearing; Thune Urges Commission to Restore Reason to the TCPA Rules

As we highlighted earlier this week, the FCC Chairman and Commissioners testified today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Senator Thune.  Senator Thune kicked off the hearing by addressing the TCPA in his opening statement, urging the Commission to “restor[e] reason” to the TCPA rules and ensure that callers looking to reach their customers, while making good faith efforts to comply with the law, are able to do so without facing the threat of litigation.

Senator Markey questioned the Commission’s efforts to ensure “robust” protection for consumers against robocalling.  In response, Chairman Pai referenced the Commission’s “two tack” approach to pursuing both TCPA regulation and enforcement efforts.  The Chairman did not give any hints as to when a ruling would come out on the post ACA Int’l Public Notice, stating that the Commission was still taking comment on the notice.

Senator Blumenthal highlighted his own efforts to address robocalling through the ROBOCOP (Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones) Act he co-sponsored and introduced in April, which would require phone companies to provide its customers with free tools to block robocalls.  The Senator tasked the FCC Commissioners with reviewing the legislation within the next week and letting him know whether they would commit their support for the bill.

The bottom line is that while the TCPA made a brief appearance during today’s Senate hearing, little was said on when we might expect FCC action on the Public Notice, reassigned numbers, and related issues, nor did the Chairman tip his hand on his thinking on these issues.  We’ll all just have to stay tuned.

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