WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Schumer: ‘No one deserves to have a robocall’

May 21, 2019
Originally published on May 13, 2019 5:52 pm

A new proposed federal law aims to stop robocalls cold.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is a co-signer of the bipartisan proposal known as the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence, or TRACED, Act. He said the legislation would empower the federal government to fine robocallers $10,000 per call.

During a visit Monday to Lifespan in Brighton, Schumer also said the bill would require phone companies to create software to tell the difference between robocalls and normal calls. Schumer said the new technology would be a part of every phone company’s licensing process. If the law is passed, the companies wouldn’t be able to operate without using the technology.

Schumer said that Verizon is already doing this, but all companies must participate in order to stop the annoying calls.

He said he’s received them himself very late at night.

“No one deserves to have a robocall, particularly at 3 a.m. No one deserves to be ripped off. Whether you have a landline, a cellphone -- or even me, I’m not too advanced. I have a flip phone. You still get them,” said Schumer. “And when you have an elderly parent or someone you know is sick or a child who is out, what’s your reaction? ‘I hope this isn’t the call that I’ve always dreaded.’ ”

The senator said the greater Rochester area received 13 million robocalls in April.

Schumer said the phone companies are working with him on the problem, and he hopes the law is passed by Labor Day. He said it would take a few months to implement afterward.

Schumer also touched on the ongoing trade wars. Stocks dropped as much as 700 points on Monday. That’s the biggest one -day drop in May in decades. Much of the drop has been attributed to China’s decision to slap tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods.

Schumer said that President Trump is right to get tough with China on trade -- but he thinks Trump’s overall approach to trade needs to change. He encouraged the president to ease his tariffs on Mexico, Europe and Canada. He said the tariffs are hurting our area’s dairy farmers, who depend on trade with Canada to survive.

“Where I disagree with the president is he has a tariff war with everybody,” said Schumer. “Canada -- that hurts our local dairy farmers who sell their dairy products into Canada. Mexico, Europe. We should focus all of our energies on China.”

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