Newhouse, Thompson introduce Bipartisan PHONE Act to support natural disaster survivors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On February 1, Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the Preserving Home and Office Numbers in Emergencies Act of 2021 (PHONE Act) to support natural disaster survivors who have lost their homes by allowing them to keep their phone numbers while they rebuild at no cost to them.
“The people of Central Washington and communities across the West understand the challenges of rebuilding after a natural disaster like a catastrophic wildfire,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that families, homeowners, businesses, and farmers can remain connected to the people and resources they need to get back on their feet after a natural disaster.”
“Disaster survivors who lost their homes face a daunting process with miles of red tape and they deserve as much assistance from the Federal government as possible. After I heard that local disaster survivors in our district were having trouble keeping their phone numbers while they rebuilt their homes, I knew Congress needed to do something,” said Thompson. “That’s why I reintroduced the bipartisan PHONE Act with Representative Newhouse to allow disaster survivors to keep their phone numbers and give them that important peace of mind during the recovery process. I will continue working to get this bill signed into law and bring back every Federal dollar and resource to help fire survivors.”
The PHONE Act would place an automatic 1-year freeze on residential wireline phone number reassignment following a major disaster declaration and create an option to extend that freeze for an additional year at customer request. The bill requires that states must determine this safeguard is necessary and in the public interest, coordinate with FEMA, and consult with wireline service providers to reasonably limit the designation to areas that have sustained covered damage under the respective disaster declaration.

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