Congress Advances Plan to Block Sales From Chinese Telecom Companies

Congress Advances Plan to Block Sales From Chinese Telecom Companies

(RepublicanPress.org) – President Joe Biden and his Democratic accomplices have devoted much of their time this year to overturning former President Donald Trump’s policies. Curiously, there’s one area where Democrats and Republicans agree — China policy.

The Biden administration not only left Trump-era trade tariffs against China intact, but the president also added new ones. Additionally, he imposed sanctions on seven China-based supercomputing companies with the full support of Democratic lawmakers.

Congress Proposes Action Against Chinese Tech Companies

On Wednesday, August 4, the US Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted to advance a bill to the Senate floor restricting private entities in the United States from purchasing equipment from Chinese telecommunications companies like ZTE and Huawei. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ed Markey (D-MA) sponsored the bipartisan measure called the Secure Equipment Act of 2021 on May 24, 2021.

If passed, the bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny any new applications from Chinese-based telecom companies that are believed to pose security threats to sell devices to American businesses. The measure effectively closes a concerning regulatory loophole that allows Chinese communications devices to link to US-based telecommunications networks, creating a potential national security vulnerability for the United States.

Senators Rubio and Markey Speak Out

In May, Rubio and Markey issued a joint statement explaining the importance of the Secure Equipment Act when they first introduced the measure. Rubio warned that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) subsidizes telecommunications companies like ZTE and Huawei to exploit “loopholes,” which allows it to sell “compromised equipment” to US companies. This technicality allows Chinese state-direct companies to pose serious risks to US telecom systems.

Markey mirrored Rubio’s remarks, adding that the Secure Equipment Act would help American companies expand telecommunications-based technologies “critical to [America’s] future economic prosperity.” Therefore, it is vital for the Senate to pass this measure to ensure devices and equipment remain safe for consumers and “secure” for the future of the United States.

The FCC has already taken some action. In late 2020, it prevented Chinese-based companies from receiving any taxpayer-funded telecommunications subsidies citing national security threats. Additionally, Democratic and Republican FCC commissioners indicated their support for the bipartisan bill.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr applauded Rubio’s and Markey’s leadership on the measure, and stressed that equipment from Chinese-based companies like Huawei poses an “unacceptable risk” to America’s “national security.”

The US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a bipartisan companion bill on July 21. It was co-sponsored by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

Both Congressional chambers are expected to vote on their respective bills later this year.

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