Congressional Roundup: Spam calls, LGBTQI+ leadership, infrastructure bills

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It’s June 11, 2021. Here’s a roundup of recent news from New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation

Hassan bill aims to fight spam calls

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined her colleagues in introducing legislation to deter harmful robocalls by cracking down on the individuals who intentionally harass consumers. The Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act would increase penalties on companies and individuals placing deceptive calls, which can number in the billions per year, and help block them from taking advantage of people, particularly seniors.

“Granite State grandparents deserve better than to be scammed by robocalls,” said Senator Hassan. “These illegal calls are on the rise and this commonsense bill cracks down on deceptive calls that prey on our most vulnerable in New Hampshire. This bill would help deter individuals and companies from making illegal robocalls by increasing penalties, including added prison time.”

Although robocalls are outlawed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), they have still surged nationwide, and they are frequently used to defraud or scam the public, including vulnerable seniors. To deter them, the DO NOT Call Act would:

  • Allow prison terms of up to one year for willfully and knowingly violating the TCPA;
  • Allow prison terms of up to three years for aggravated violations of the TCPA;
  • Double the maximum penalties under the TCPA for falsifying caller ID, from $10,000 to $20,000.

Shaheen says US should lead in LGBTQI+ Rights

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), all members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, in reintroducing the Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act. The legislation would establish equality and justice as key components of U.S. foreign policy; affirm that discrimination, hatred and violence against LGBTQI+ individuals will not be tolerated by the United States, and assert that the United States government will treat LGBTQI+ rights as human rights throughout its foreign policy, development assistance and immigration programs. The bill would also establish a permanent Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQI Persons at the State Department.

Text of the bill is not yet available.

Pappas-supported infrastructure bills pass committee

Two pieces of infrastructure legislation that Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) helped craft as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and that contain several provisions Pappas fought to include, have passed a final Committee vote – paving the way for a full House vote.

H.R. 3684, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act is a five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization that will secure over $1.2 billion in highway funding for New Hampshire. This represents a 34% increase in funding for roads and bridges in New Hampshire along with substantial increases in transit funding.

H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, authorizes $51.2 billion in federal funds for the construction, repair, and replacement of America’s network of wastewater and stormwater conveyance and treatment facilities.

“Smart investments in our infrastructure will allow us to rebuild our country, create good paying jobs, and pave the way for America’s continued future as a world leader,” said Pappas. “As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have been focused on crafting infrastructure legislation that addresses America’s urgent needs including repairing our roads and bridges, revitalizing our water infrastructure, and ensuring resiliency, and I’m pleased these landmark bills have cleared this hurdle with key provisions that I fought for including active transportation, commuter rail, and addressing PFAS contamination. There is broad, bipartisan support for these priorities, and I urge my Republican and Democratic colleagues to pass these bills and deliver on the commitments we’ve made to the American people.”