Removing Barriers Blog

Senate Commerce Committee Approves Reappointment of FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel
Posted December 10, 2015 by CUNA Advocacy

This week the Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously in favor to reappoint Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to a new term on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The full Senate must still approve the reappointment. If approved, as it expected to be, she will begin a new five-year term.

Rosenworcel voted partially in favor of approving, and partially against, the FCC’s recent Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Omnibus Order which has been impacting credit unions ability to contact their members. Rosenworcel’s dissent was in protest to the exemption granted for financial institutions and healthcare providers, which CUNA supported.

In her statement concerning the financial institutions exemption in the Order Rosenworcel wrote, “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is straightforward: it requires a company to get a consumer’s prior express consent before making robocalls to their number. But today we do away with this requirement for big banks, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies. They get a loophole. The Order couches this exemption in high-minded rhetoric about informing consumers about upcoming healthcare appointments and threats to their credit. But despite this rhetoric, the result is obvious—consumers can expect to receive more robocalls from healthcare providers and banking institutions.”

We recently filed a joint amici brief in support of litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the FCC’s recent TCPA Order. The brief also discussed the practical limitations of the financial institutions exemption noting that some small financial institutions have even concluded that the restrictions established by the FCC in the TCPA Order result in a de facto ban on their ability to utilize the exemption.