Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks'

Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care To make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging Congress to squash any attempt by the Trump administration to save Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE amid reports that the U.S. and Beijing have reached an agreement.

"Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America’s economic or national security, and would be a huge victory for President Xi [Jinping], and a dramatic retreat by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE. Both parties in Congress should come together to stop this deal in its tracks," Schumer said in a statement.

“If the administration goes through with this reported deal, President Trump would be helping make China great again," the Senate Democratic leader added.

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Schumer's statement came after Reuters, citing a senior congressional aide, reported that a deal has been reached to lift a ban that prevents ZTE from buying U.S. products.

As part of the agreement, according to Reuters, ZTE will have to pay a fine, place American compliance offers in its company and change its management team.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not confirm the deal, telling Reuters: “We’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that front."

The potential agreement comes as reports have been circulating for days that the Trump administration and Beijing were negotiating a deal to save the Chinese telecom giant.

The Commerce Department imposed the ban and sanctions after ZTE violated U.S. sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran.

Trump said on Tuesday that there was no deal but added that he may ask for a fine of roughly $1.3 billion, new management for the telecom giant and for China to buy more American products.

And Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPolicy expert: Erdoğan wants to ramp up anti-American sentiment to distract Turkish public Harriet Tubman on the bill would be smart for the president, his party and the nation Turkish president blasts ‘economic coup’ amid heightened tensions with US MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossJuan Williams: Trump weaves web of corruption An even bigger China shock Judge says California lawsuit challenging census question can proceed MORE came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday evening to update senators on the status of the negotiations with China and ZTE.

Both Mnuchin and Ross declined to comment after they left the closed-door meeting, but GOP Sen. John CornynJohn Cornyn15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (Texas) told reporters that the administration seemed "pretty far along" in the talks.

The administration's negotiations over ZTE have sparked backlash from Democrats as well as some Republicans.

Cornyn said earlier this week that a bill that includes language restricting the the ability of the Commerce Department to lift penalties against ZTE if they aren't following the law will be in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual policy bill.

"It's been adopted in the NDAA and it will remain as part of the base bill," he said. "I expect it to be part of the NDAA."