Congress Returns to Capitol Hill This Month: What to Expect

Legislation concerning robocalls and data security are among the top priorities for the remainder of the 116th Congress.

9/5/2019 10:00 AM

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Congress Returns to Capitol Hill This Month: What to Expect

ACA International’s advocacy team members are gearing up for a busy fall in Washington, D.C., as they expect more news on legislation dealing with call blocking and labeling in addition to a debt collection hearing in the House Financial Services Committee.

Legislation

The U.S. Senate passed S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED Act) with important clarifications included in report language surrounding concerns raised by ACA, particularly to recognize the needs of legitimate callers. The bill passed by a 97-1 vote in May.

ACA notes that the TRACED Act expands the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to mitigate and enforce rules around illegal robocalls. However, it also urges safe harbors for call blocking efforts. ACA has supported narrowly focused efforts on penalizing scam callers who are in no way seeking to follow the law, however has expressed serious concerns about unnecessarily expanding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which has proven time and again to be overly complex, out of date and abused by plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“ACA International appreciates the Senate’s recognition of the importance of legitimate business communications in its report language and urges the FCC to consider the distinctions made about calls where there is an established business relationship,” said ACA International’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375), sponsored by Chairman U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was approved 429-3 in July.

ACA appreciates that the bill urges the FCC to clarify the definition of autodialer. It also clarifies that there should be no cost to callers for unblocking calls and that unblocking should be done in a transparent way. However, the term “called party” is defined in the legislation as “the current subscriber or customary user of the telephone number to which the call is made, determined at the time when the call is made.” As it stands now, it will be in effect when the FCC's reassigned numbers database is fully operational. ACA will be urging the Senate to remove this problematic definition during the reconciliation process, since it could increase frivolous TCPA litigation.

Reconciliation of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act and the TRACED Act is expected in the next few weeks. Certain provisions of the legislation could face opposition, not only from industry stakeholders, but also from the different chambers of Congress.

American Banker reports, in “Six Banking Issues to Watch When Congress Reconvenes” that there is little expectation Congress will advance legislation focused on cybersecurity standards; but the issue remains prominent in the media and as significant data breaches continue for financial services and health care providers, for example.

“Yet it still remains to be seen if news about data breaches and new innovations will compel lawmakers to make cybersecurity reforms a priority,” report American Banker's Joe Adler and Neil Haggerty.

However, there is at least partial bipartisan agreement on the need for federal data privacy legislation between the U.S. House and Senate, ACA previously reported.

Currently, among several issues being discussed, a key question is whether any new federal privacy law would pre-empt state laws or coexist with them, Dempsey reported in the May issue of Collector magazine.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) both provided consumers with control over how businesses collect and use their personal data.

House Financial Services Committee

Members of the House Financial Services Committee are slated to discuss legislation focused on debt collection practices during a hearing at 10 a.m. Eastern on Sept. 26, according to the September calendar of hearings  released by committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

In addition to the debt collection practices hearing, the committee will convene for a legislative markup Sept. 18 and 19 and a hearing at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 titled, “A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable.” 

One of the key Republican Party members of the committee, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., Monday said he will resign in September to focus on his family, American Banker reports. One of Duffy’s priorities in recent years has been reform of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, particularly its leadership structure. He also sought to increase the transparency of the CFPB’s guidance process for companies, according to the article.

Chairwoman Waters also recently announced the committee’s priorities for fall 2019, including hearing testimony from CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger and exploring data privacy and regulating innovation through task forces created this year.

ACA will follow these issues and more as Congress continues its session as well as activity at the state level. If you met with any of your local legislators or members of Congress during the recess, let us know by contacting ACA’s Communications Team at comm@acainternational.org.

ACA International’s advocacy outreach is an extremely important component of its ongoing efforts to help members succeed. We need you, as part of our active, driven membership to partner with us as we work to educate lawmakers about facts and information critical to our industry’s ability to function and thrive.

Click here for additional information about continuing to connect with lawmakers throughout the year. We’ll see you next spring at the #WashingtonInsightsFlyIn20.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Congress Returns to Capitol Hill This Month: What to Expect

ACA International’s advocacy team members are gearing up for a busy fall in Washington, D.C., as they expect more news on legislation dealing with call blocking and labeling in addition to a debt collection hearing in the House Financial Services Committee.

Legislation

The U.S. Senate passed S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED Act) with important clarifications included in report language surrounding concerns raised by ACA, particularly to recognize the needs of legitimate callers. The bill passed by a 97-1 vote in May.

ACA notes that the TRACED Act expands the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to mitigate and enforce rules around illegal robocalls. However, it also urges safe harbors for call blocking efforts. ACA has supported narrowly focused efforts on penalizing scam callers who are in no way seeking to follow the law, however has expressed serious concerns about unnecessarily expanding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which has proven time and again to be overly complex, out of date and abused by plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“ACA International appreciates the Senate’s recognition of the importance of legitimate business communications in its report language and urges the FCC to consider the distinctions made about calls where there is an established business relationship,” said ACA International’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375), sponsored by Chairman U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was approved 429-3 in July.

ACA appreciates that the bill urges the FCC to clarify the definition of autodialer. It also clarifies that there should be no cost to callers for unblocking calls and that unblocking should be done in a transparent way. However, the term “called party” is defined in the legislation as “the current subscriber or customary user of the telephone number to which the call is made, determined at the time when the call is made.” As it stands now, it will be in effect when the FCC's reassigned numbers database is fully operational. ACA will be urging the Senate to remove this problematic definition during the reconciliation process, since it could increase frivolous TCPA litigation.

Reconciliation of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act and the TRACED Act is expected in the next few weeks. Certain provisions of the legislation could face opposition, not only from industry stakeholders, but also from the different chambers of Congress.

American Banker reports, in “Six Banking Issues to Watch When Congress Reconvenes” that there is little expectation Congress will advance legislation focused on cybersecurity standards; but the issue remains prominent in the media and as significant data breaches continue for financial services and health care providers, for example.

“Yet it still remains to be seen if news about data breaches and new innovations will compel lawmakers to make cybersecurity reforms a priority,” report American Banker's Joe Adler and Neil Haggerty.

However, there is at least partial bipartisan agreement on the need for federal data privacy legislation between the U.S. House and Senate, ACA previously reported.

Currently, among several issues being discussed, a key question is whether any new federal privacy law would pre-empt state laws or coexist with them, Dempsey reported in the May issue of Collector magazine.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) both provided consumers with control over how businesses collect and use their personal data.

House Financial Services Committee

Members of the House Financial Services Committee are slated to discuss legislation focused on debt collection practices during a hearing at 10 a.m. Eastern on Sept. 26, according to the September calendar of hearings  released by committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

In addition to the debt collection practices hearing, the committee will convene for a legislative markup Sept. 18 and 19 and a hearing at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 titled, “A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable.” 

One of the key Republican Party members of the committee, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., Monday said he will resign in September to focus on his family, American Banker reports. One of Duffy’s priorities in recent years has been reform of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, particularly its leadership structure. He also sought to increase the transparency of the CFPB’s guidance process for companies, according to the article.

Chairwoman Waters also recently announced the committee’s priorities for fall 2019, including hearing testimony from CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger and exploring data privacy and regulating innovation through task forces created this year.

ACA will follow these issues and more as Congress continues its session as well as activity at the state level. If you met with any of your local legislators or members of Congress during the recess, let us know by contacting ACA’s Communications Team at comm@acainternational.org.

ACA International’s advocacy outreach is an extremely important component of its ongoing efforts to help members succeed. We need you, as part of our active, driven membership to partner with us as we work to educate lawmakers about facts and information critical to our industry’s ability to function and thrive.

Click here for additional information about continuing to connect with lawmakers throughout the year. We’ll see you next spring at the #WashingtonInsightsFlyIn20.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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